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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

How to use the new ‘busy area’ icon on Google Maps

Should I stay or should I go?

No matter how much you hate crowds or love being pressed from all sides by a seething mass of humanity, Google Maps has the tool for you. Called “Area Busyness,” this feature will tell you exactly where those amorphous blobs of people are so you can avoid them or run straight to them.

With a pulsating orange circle and a bar graph inside, Area Busyness extends the detailed information Maps already provides when you investigate public transportation options or tap on certain stores.

And just like those other data displays, this feature does more than simply inform you of how many people you can expect to encounter when you go out.

Using a single tap, you can see a complete map of the busy area. Additionally, the graph shows how active that area is at different times of the day along with information about restaurants, shops, and other locations.

Google launched a feature, ‘Area Busyness’ a few months back. With this feature, users will know which part of a city is busiest at that time. With the help of this feature, people will understand which place in the town is most busy or free during which time of the day. As well as restaurants, shops, and museums, it also includes other places. The Android and iOS versions of this app will be available globally during the holiday season.

How to use

By tapping on the chart, you can see the entire busy area. Along with information on restaurants, shops, and other locations in the area, the graph shows how active that area is at different times of the day. It can be found by tapping on a particular place on Google Maps. Additionally, Google Maps introduced indicators showing busy and less busy areas last year.

The new update coincides with introducing the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. People can avoid going to crowded places by using this feature.

“To calculate busyness insights, we analyze aggregated and anonymized Location History data from people who have opted to turn this setting on from their Google Account. This data is instrumental in calculating how busy a place typically is for every hour of the week. The busiest hour becomes our benchmark—and we then display busyness data for the rest of the week relative to that hour,” Google said in a blog post.

Safety measures

The tech giant has taken several measures about the Area Busyness, including that it never reveals the exact location of an individual, never displays the total number of people in an area, display busyness for an entire, predefined “area of interest.” It does not calculate busyness data for residential places like houses or apartments.

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