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The other day I went on Google Maps and checked out one of the supermarkets near me to see what time they closed. What I found was an interesting feature that showed just how busy the supermarket was at every hour of the day.

This feature is actually pretty easy to use, and you don’t have to do anything special to enable it. Just go to Google Maps, search for a business, and click on its pin on the map view.

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In the left sidebar, scroll down until you see the Popular times section. Here you’ll find a dropdown menu where you can select which day of the week you want to know about.

This information is collected by Google Maps based on historical visiting patterns. Yes, that’s right: if you’ve granted Google permission to store the location information of your GPS-enabled phone, then you’ve helped Google develop this feature! But don’t worry, your location data is all anonymized.

Note that this feature won’t help you on certain days that experience out-of-the-ordinary surges, such as Black Friday. As of now, the feature works for nearly all restaurants, bars, and retail stores. Also note that some locations may even report real-time levels of crowdedness.

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How useful did you find this feature? Do you intentionally visit businesses when they are at their least crowded? Share with us in the comments!

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