Google Maps will soon tell you how busy neighborhoods are before your visit

Google Maps
Google Maps (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Google Maps is gaining a new feature that will show how busy a neighborhood is.
  • Area Busyness will also show how busy neighborhoods are at specific times during the day.

Google is leveraging the kind of data you can only collect by having a presence in a ton of pockets by showing people how busy neighborhoods are so they can decide whether or not they'd like to make a trip.

Dubbed Area Business, the new feature was announced via blog post and will allow Google Maps users to drill down to see exactly what times a particular neighborhood is normally at its busiest.

Whether you're heading to your hometown or exploring a new city, you can use Area Busyness, a new feature that combines live busyness trends to help you instantly spot when a neighborhood or part of town is near or at its busiest. Say you're not a fan of crowds — just open Google Maps to see places to avoid, like the area near a holiday fair. And if you're traveling and want to check out some of the more popular areas in town, you can easily pinpoint which neighborhoods are lively.

Google says that the feature will be live "in time for this holiday season" so it should be a good option for those looking to plan their Christmas activities.

While Apple Maps has made big improvements in recent years, Google Maps is perhaps still the best iPhone app for people who want to go beyond looking at a map — and features like Area Business are a prime example of that.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.