Surprisingly helpful Google Maps update shows restaurant wait times

Illustration for article titled Surprisingly helpful Google Maps update shows restaurant wait times
Photo: Matt Devine / Barcroft Media (Getty Images)

Looks like we might have to actually download the new version of Google Maps for iOS instead of postponing the update until the end of time. 9to5Mac reports that the latest version—4.47, for those keeping track—now displays wait times at more than a million restaurants around the world, helping us determine whether we’ll be subject to a 10-minute or hour-long wait for some hyped burger.


The app now displays the average wait at the time of day you’re searching, and also lists the peak hours for wait times at that particular restaurant. Currently, the restaurants with the feature are clustered in major cities like New York, LA, Hong Kong, Moscow, Singapore, etc., but the app promises more cities are on the way.

Because I hate waiting in lines, I’ve typically had to do unscientific recon before checking out some buzzy new spot. This used to involve texting friends who had already eaten there, maybe even going slightly out of my way to check out the lines at the restaurant on my commute home, etc. Creepy, yes, and a giant waste of time! Thanks Google, for introducing a feature that actually solves a real problem. Now, if Apple could just get to work on releasing those crumb-free keyboards.

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.


Spice Spice Gravy

Be nice if they actually asked the restaurants if they wanted this information shared.

Be nice if it was accurate.

Nah. That would take time and money, which Google actually has.

It also would be nice if it was based on something other than a shit-ton of Android cellphones and restaurant searches in one place. Like, knowing the actual reservation load and list and availability. That would be great.

Can’t get that, Google? Then go ahead and guess, announce it as a new feature, get some pub and then hide behind the black curtain of an “algorithm” explanation. That’ll work.

Delivery services do this all the time - Postmates, GrubHub, Door Dash. They just add restaurants without consent or even a verification that the restaurants actually do take-out. Slap it together, fire it up and figure out the details later. Meanwhile, restaurants are hanging on trying to figure out the mess by the 3rd-party big boys.