I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty impatient when it comes to queuing and waiting to be served.
I would rather go to McDonald’s than wait 30 minutes for a table at a fancy restaurant and will leave a bar if I have to queue for an eternity to get served.
In fact, I did just that a couple of weeks ago when I was heading to see a play with some friends and decided to grab a bite at a place close by that my veggie friend liked.
We got there, only to discover the place was packed and had a 45-minute wait.
We then had to scurry around for the next 20 minutes trying to find somewhere else nearby that looked decent, served good veggie food and wouldn’t make us late for the play.
What we really needed was something to tell us where to head that didn’t have a queue.
That’s why I was really excited by Google’s latest announcement about adding real-time data to Google Maps and search to show you live, up-to-date info on how busy a coffee shop, bar, restaurant or store is.
What’s even more interesting is that it will also tell you how long people usually spend in a place, so if you really, really want to go somewhere, you can plan your time around it.
I think Google has always listed popular hours, but I’ve often questioned the reliability of it. However, this new feature could prove more accurate, as it will use info based on real-time, aggregated, anonymous location history data.
The wider world
I’m really interested in real-time data and how we can use it to make our lives a little bit easier.
I know some town councils around the UK are using it to show you live car space availability in town centres and parking garages. And I’d think it would be especially useful to find out when shops are at their busiest when I’m Christmas/sales shopping.
So, have you come across places using live data? Is it something you’d use?