Google Will Tell You When to Stay at Home to Avoid the Black Friday Crowds

By Gary Cutlack on at

Google is attempting to advise shoppers where might be best to avoid if you don't want to get flattened by an obese 15-year-old running faster than he's ever run before with a PS4 Pro beneath one flabby arm and a Wi-Fi range extender under the other, as it's testing a system that tries to warn people when their intended shopping destinations are packed to bursting.

It's an expansion of the "popular times" feature that's been inside its Maps tool for a year or so, only upgraded to offer a live look at how many shoppers might be in a place. It generates a graph beneath some places' Google home pages, although the option to tell Google if this is correct or not hints at the fact that it might just be... guessing.

Google hasn't said how it generates the data, which is a bit of a problem. If it's by tracking us well then that's great, sort of, but the graphs are a bit vague and if you've committed to going to ASDA to try to wrestle a last-gen HDTV off an old lady or take the last Planet Earth Blu-ray from a child, you're hardly likely to abandon your plans on the say so of a graph. Still, Google has to at least try to get some traffic out of Black Friday, right? [Google via BBC]

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