Google Maps adds new features including Area Busyness

The Google Maps logo on a black green yellow red and blue background

With the holiday season quickly approaching, Google is updating its popular Maps application with new features including Area Busyness. Google Maps is also expanding its Pickup service in the U.S., it’s expanding the Directory tab to help you navigate around big complexes such as malls and airports, and it’s adding price ranges for restaurants.

Area Busyness

One of the common occurrences during the holiday season is for large crowds to congregate in one area, for example, Birmingham (UK) has the popular German market which sees vast swathes of people descend on New Street and surrounding areas making it hard to walk through the area. To help people avoid, or join, these crowds, Maps is introducing a tool called Area Busyness which shows lively areas and provides details on how busy it is now and how busy it’s expected to be later on.

The Area Busyness feature on Google Maps

Directory tab expansion

Unless you’re a Google Maps power user you’ve probably never needed to use the Directory tab. In this update, Google is bringing the Directory tab to Android and iOS users globally for all airports, malls, and transit stations. The tab will allow you to quickly see the types of stores, lounges, and parking lots that are available in the building. Accompanying each entry, you’ll get helpful information about its opening hours, its rating, and what floor it’s on.

New features are available in the Directory tab

Pickup with Google Maps (U.S. only)

If you’re in the United States, you’ll be able to use Pickup with Google Maps in more areas and with more stores including Kroger, Fry’s, Ralphs, and Marianos. With today’s expansion, 2,000 additional stores are now supported across 30 states. Pickup with Google Maps allows you track your order status and share your ETA with the store to let them know you’ve arrived so they can prepare to give you your order.

Pickup with Google Maps

Extra information about restaurants including pricing (U.S. only)

The final addition coming to Google Maps at this time is price ranges for restaurants in the United States. This data will be provided based on feedback from people who visit and buy food from these eateries. You’ll be able to get the average cost of eating at the restaurant per person and expanding the box will show you different price ranges that people spent at that business and the proportion of people that spent that much.

Demonstration of the price range feature for restaurants in Google Maps