If you want to take advantage of Black Friday deals, today’s the day to hit the stores. Some say it’s the biggest shopping day of the year (although other experts disagree). In any case, the bargain hunters will be out in full force to snag a half-off television or the hot new toy.
But what if you aren’t prepared for a massive crowd? Google’s data expertise may be your answer.
Google’s Popular Times feature, which was added to Google Search and Maps in 2015, used to show trends for how busy a venue typically is on a given day of the week. Google has updated this feature for the 2016 holiday season to reveal how busy or slow a business is in real time. Such a tool can help shoppers decide when it might be best to hit the hotspots in town.
According to The Independent, the powerhouse tech company is using “anonymized location data from smartphones to estimate how many people are present at any given location in real time.” This data is reportedly collected only when users have opted into sharing their location information.
Users can also access holiday store hours and the average amount of time spent at a given retailer when checking this feature. To tap into this information on your quest today, just type a retailer’s name into a Google search.