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Google Maps just got a big update you need for Black Friday

Published Nov 16th, 2021 3:38PM EST
Google Maps air quality new features
Image: Google

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Holiday shopping is stressful, but Google wants to ease some of that stress with a selection of useful new tools. Amanda Leicht Moore, the director of product for Google Maps, published a blog post on Tuesday announcing multiple upcoming features. The new Google Maps update will be extremely useful on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you plan on running around town to buy gifts, grab a bite to eat, or meet up with family and friends, Google Maps is here to help.

Google Maps makes holiday shopping easier

No matter where you live in the US, there are probably parts of your town or city that always seem to be busy. There’s also a high likelihood that you’ll be heading to or through those areas in the coming weeks. Deciding when to risk a trip to those spots can be a challenge, but with its new Area Busyness feature, Google Maps should help to take some of the pressure out of that decision.

Google Maps adds new features for holiday shopping
Google Maps will show you how busy an area is. Image source: Google

For years, Google Maps has offered helpful data about how busy a place might be. Now, Google Maps is combining all the live busyness trends that it collects for a new feature called Area Busyness. Going forward, you will be able to see just how busy any area around you is at any time of day. You can also tap on a neighborhood to see how busy it is, as you would a restaurant or business. Then you can make an informed decision about whether to visit that area or not.

Knowing how busy a place is can be helpful, but what if you have no idea where to go once you get there? Google has a solution for that problem as well. Google Maps is expanding its Directory tab on Android and iOS for every airport, mall, and transit station around the world. Now you can quickly see detailed information about the location you’re visiting before you arrive. You can see which stores are in the mall, where the parking lots and lounges are at the airport, and more.

Grocery shopping and finding restaurants

Perhaps the most stressful part of any holiday is cooking a big meal for friends and family. Of course, cooking means grocery shopping, and the last thing any of us want to do is spend hours combing the aisles for ingredients. That’s why Google Maps is letting users track their pickups.

Google Maps adds new features for holiday shopping
Google Maps makes grocery pickup easier. Image source: Google

Google teamed up with Fred Meyer supermarkets this summer to simplify grocery pickups. Shoppers can add their pickups to Maps, which will then send them a notification when it’s time to head out and notify the store when the customer is on their way. The app also continuously updates the customer’s ETA so that the store knows exactly when to have their order ready.

Now, Google has expanded this feature to over 2,000 stores in more than 30 states around the country. Pickup is available at even more Kroger Family stores, including Kroger, Fry’s, Ralphs, and Marianos. If you’re looking to save time at any of these stores, give the feature a try.

Finally, if you’d rather take the family out to eat, Google has a new tool for you as well. Google Maps will now show price ranges for restaurants in the US based on feedback from users. You’ll now know how much to expect to pay before you book the reservation. Google is also making it easier for Maps users to provide detailed reviews and inform others about whether or not a restaurant has outdoor seating, curbside pickup, delivery, or any other valuable features.

New features are rolling out right now

This holiday season is sure to be one of the most stressful in recent memory now that many people are more comfortable traveling. Google Maps wants to make sure that whether you’re shopping or dining out, your holiday is about spending time with loved ones rather than fighting crowds.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.