Google Maps’ new features prepares you for the holiday rush

This is the first Christmas since the pandemic hit that various economies are opening up again and so we can expect crowds and surges. Whether it’s in your own neighborhood or you’re traveling to a popular tourist spot, having tools on Google Maps to help you navigate the next few weeks will be helpful. They are launching new features including Area Busyness to help you keep away or go towards crowds, Directory tabs for malls, airports, and transit stations, price ranges for restaurants, and a pickup with Google Maps for selected retailers in the U.S.

Area Busyness is a feature that can give you information about the live busyness trends of the place that you’re planning to go to or planning to avoid, depending on how you feel about crowds. Just tap on a neighborhood to see how busy things get at certain times of the day. It also includes information on the restaurants, shops, and recreational places that you may be planning to visit if you’re new to the area. This feature will be rolling out globally this holiday season for Google Maps mobile users.

Finding your way around large places like malls, airports, and transit stations can be challenging especially if they don’t have adequate directions inside or on an app. Maps is now expanding the Directions tab so you’ll be able to see things like stores, lounges, car rental stations, parking lots, and other important places that you may need to find in those large buildings. You’ll see relevant information about the businesses in each category including where it is and if it’s open or not.

Pickup with Google Maps launched in Portland with select Fred Meyers stores and is now expanding to more than 2,000 locations in more than 30 states. When you place an order to a participating retailer using this tool, you will be able to track your order status, share your ETA with the store, and let them know you’ve arrived from within the Maps app. Stores include Kroger Family brands like Kroger, Fry’s Ralphs, and Marianos.

Lastly, you’ll now see price ranges in restaurants based on contributions from other users. The app update will also bring an easier way for users to add more detailed reviews about dining places like delivery options, curbside pickup option, and whether or not a place has outdoor seating. Google Maps is hoping that you’ll be able to survive the holiday season with the help of these new features.

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