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Google Search can now tell you when a store gets crowded

Google has a new way to help you dodge crowds. Today, the company announced a new feature in Google Search cards showing the busiest times for businesses and public places in Google search, broken down hour-by-hour by days of the week. The new feature should already be visible in the card for businesses listed in Search. The hope is the data will guide users away from long lines, and toward times when a given store is less busy.

The feature is built with the same anonymized Android location data Google uses to estimate how heavy traffic is on a given road — and like the traffic data, it's just an estimate. The system can't tell how many people are in line at a given store, just how many are in the store's walls at a given time. The result is one more way Google is able to leverage Android adoption into new features for Search, which in turn provides more integrated features for Android users. It's a trick that the company's search competitors will have a very hard time copying.