How to See How Busy a Store Is Right Now with Google Maps

The Google Maps application icon on a smartphone screen.BigTunaOnline / Shutterstock.com

More than ever, we all want to go to grocery stores and other essential businesses when there are not too many people. With a few clicks, Google Maps can tell you how busy a store, restaurant, park, or other location is currently.

You can find this information on the Google Maps website in your browser or in the Google Maps app for iPhone, iPad, and Android. Look for the name of a store, restaurant, business, or other location – it works even for parks.

Click or tap the location name to view more information about it. Look for the “Popular Times” table in the panel – you may have to scroll down to see it. Look for a “live” hour that tells you how busy a business is right now.

Google Maps showing popular times for a location on its website

You can also click on the name of the day of the week and select a different day of the week to check if the location is generally the busiest. Do more people tend to shop on Wednesdays or Sundays? Is the store less busy early in the morning or late at night? The table will tell you.

It should be noted that this historical data may not be as predictive as usual at the moment. Shopping habits (and opening hours) have changed. However, live data should be useful: if it indicates that a location is occupied at the moment, you can wait for Google to indicate that the location is less busy to get there.

Google Maps showing how busy a store is right now in the mobile app.

This information is not available for each location. It will not be available for some placements that “don’t get enough visits” from people who have activated Google Location History, according to Google.

How it works?

This feature takes advantage of the location data that Google receives from people who choose to activate Google Location History on their phones. Using this data, Google will estimate how busy it is at a particular location right now.

It also remembers historical data and can average it to show you when a store is usually the busiest – and least – busy each week.

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