When you live in the most densely populated city in the country, you develop coping strategies to deal with the unavoidable crowds: embracing the 5 p.m. dinner, becoming BFFs with that coworker who lives next door to Rosemary’s or pretending those two pre-dinner cocktails were all part of your Friday-night plan. Leave it to the wizards at Google to instantly simplify the whole process. You can now see a real-time update of how busy a venue is—and strategize accordingly.
Google Maps has been reporting restaurants’ most popular times (and how long people usually spend there) for a while now, but with the most recent iOS update, you’ll see a pink “Live” icon that shows how crowded a place currently is compared with what’s normal.
But how does Google know everything? Apparently it calculates “aggregated and anonymized data” from Google users who have opted in to location history (aka a digital record that we went to Ample Hills three times last week…shh).
We’re not gonna lie: As useful as the new feature is, it kind of makes us feel like our robot overlords are always watching us. But hey, if it means we can beat the rush at Trader Joe’s, who are we to complain?