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Google adds wait times to restaurant search results

Consumers can now learn the estimated wait time at a restaurant they’re considering by searching for the place on Google, which also indicates when might be a better time to visit.

Google said yesterday that the information would soon be provided via search for as many as 1 million sit-down restaurants worldwide. It noted that the capability will be extended to Google Maps at some point in the near future. A search of restaurants in several cities indicates the feature is already live.

The wait times for a table are presented as a bar graph. Each bar represents the average time customers spend in standby mode during particular hours of the day. The taller the bar, the longer the wait. By clicking on a bar, the user can get the precise average. Clicking on several yields suggestions on when to go for a shorter wait.

Google says the times are based on “anonymized historical data,” but did not reveal how that information is collected.

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