Google Search will soon show restaurant wait times

Maybe you get a half-hour lunch break and the local sandwich counter has a line that takes 20 minutes to navigate. A chart in it lists the busiest times at the restaurant while another click shows an estimated wait at a specific time.

Of course, wait times aren't just an issue at fine dining establishments.

On Monday, Google began testing a feature that will allow consumers to compare the specification of products in Google search results.

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"Wait time estimates are based on anonymized historical data, similar to how we compute the previously launched Popular Times and Visit Duration features, Quang Duong, software engineer for Google Maps, wrote in a blog post".

For over a couple of years now, Google has been leveraging data from Google Maps' install base to deliver these sorts of insights. And while businesses in general have been supported for awhile to show wait times within Google Search, restaurants have been missing up until now. Not only will it tell you which times are most popular among visitors and your estimated wait time for a table, but it will also tell you how long people typically spend at the business you're visiting.

Using data from about 1 million restaurants and grocery stores, a Google search of, for example, Little Nonna's, will not only give you the usual restaurant info, but also when you can expect the restaurant to be busiest - in this case, there's a small lunch rush and peak crowds at 7 p.m. Yes, it's an opt-in feature, and yes, you've probably opted-in, because it makes Maps and Search a lot more useful.

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