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Which big restaurants are busy? What hours, which days? Google will tell you


DaveO
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Google just announced that you can now see which local businesses are busy and which hours and days they are busiest.  If you search on an android for a particular business by name something called a Local Knowledge Box, provided by Google, gives you information about the business.  This "Box" of info shows up before the business's website.   They just added this feature, which shows for retail type businesses that tend to be busy.

I researched it for local restaurants around the region.   The data was showing for larger restaurants but not for smaller restaurants.  It shows like the gif below:

post-9660-0-53429500-1438121079_thumb.gi

Well of course it brings up privacy issues.  The other thing I pondered was what if a large busy restaurant or hotel has a majority of Iphone users?   Will this data misrepresent how busy a place is???   I'm sure there are many other concerns.

Anyways back to my little test of restaurants around the region.   They were slower on Mondays and Tuesdays and busier on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.   Surprise, surprise.

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Like any other piece of information, this could be helpful in some ways, hurtful in others and of course it won't be long until someone games the system.

it didn't seem like this was real-time data, more 'trends' over time. (Right?) I think this may help a place in the long run by load-balancing when people show up.

To take it to the extreme, Walt Disney World seems to be a place where having hourly attendance information is vitally important to avoiding crowds...attentive planning, including knowing which park at what hours, can maximize a visit. Conversely, WDW marketing goes to great lengths to fill in more sales in the low and "shoulder" periods both within a single day and within the season, effectively reducing the impact of planning around low times. I suppose airlines do this also, but by wide variations in pricing vs promotions.

Interesting

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Like any other piece of information, this could be helpful in some ways, hurtful in others and of course it won't be long until someone games the system.

I think you are right on both levels.  Some will game the system down the line, though how I have no idea.

it didn't seem like this was real-time data, more 'trends' over time. (Right?) I think this may help a place in the long run by load-balancing when people show up.

I suspect you are correct here also.  I bet most businesses know this kind of data for themselves anyway.

I must admit to a bias against google.  In search they are a monopoly IMHO with too much power.  I'm turning off the location setting on my mobile (an android).  Google has no need to know where I am or where I am going, or how long it took me to get there or with whom I'm traveling.

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