After updating to the new Google Maps app, iPhone users will be able to view restaurants’ waiting times, hour by hour, as well as the time when the wait will be the longest that day.
At present the feature is limited to select cities including New York, Hong Kong, Taipei, Paris, Los Angeles, Delhi, Moscow, Singapore, Madrid, Barcelona, Kiev and Budapest.
The wait time information is calculated using data from people that have opted in and given Google Maps permission to track their location. The information is anonymised so it cannot be traced back to any particular user.
The information is only shown in the app for restaurants if they get enough visits from opted-in users. Restaurants cannot manually add this information to their location, meaning the displayed information is more trustworthy, according to Google. It appears only if Google has sufficient visit data for the business.
“The displayed waiting time is based on patterns of customer visits over the last several weeks,” writes Google on its Maps information page.
“Waiting time estimation differs for different business types. For instance, a sit-down restaurant's waiting time reflects how long customers wait before being seated. Whereas, a grocery shop's waiting time reflects how long customers wait to check out their items.”
Diners will also be able to view more detailed information about the restaurants, including the exact entrance they need to enter by, the most popular days and times to visit, and the average visit duration.
Wait time information has been available through Google Search since November, but the new update will be the first time it has become available in real-time, and the first time it has been visible in Maps.