How Google Will Help You Avoid Black Friday Crowds

Google will be offering a real time look at how busy stores and restaurants are thanks to a new update. It can be very helpful with Black Friday approaching. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) explains. Once they’ve polished off the Thanksgiving turkey and apple pie, many families start making their plans of attack for Black Friday shopping. While a lot of stores are offering great deals on tech and toys, the biggest question mark is how long the crowd will be once you get to Toys “R” Us or Target.

But this year, Google is trying to take the guesswork out of Black Friday. The search engine has updated its Popular Times feature, which appears in Search and Maps results and shows how crowded shops and restaurants are based on user trends.

Thanks to an update that dropped Monday, Popular Times results now feature a real time estimate for how busy stores are right now, along with the approximate amount of time shoppers spend in each store. The site also now shows holiday-specific hours for shops and restaurants, so users know whether they can start snatching up Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving night.

Google collects this location data from users and is able to repurpose it to fit shoppers’ needs, which gives this new feature a slightly disturbing Big Brother vibe. But if you’re looking to avoid retail aggravation while buying that new TV, this tool could be a lifesaver.

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