Use Google Maps to Find Out When Your Grocery Store and Pharmacy Are Least Crowded

Use Google Maps to Find Out When Your Grocery Store and Pharmacy Are Least Crowded
Photo: Zivica Kerkez, Shutterstock

With holidays happening in a few weeks, you may find yourself having to make a grocery store run. Given the whole pandemic situation, you’ll probably want to minimise the time you spend inside the supermarket. And thanks to a new feature on Google Maps, you’ll be able to access information about when your local grocery stores, pharmacies, coffee shops and parks are most crowded — and then avoid going at that time. Here’s how to use it.

Some trends from Google Maps data

After analysing data gathered between March and October 2020 via Google Maps, several trends emerged, in terms of when certain frequently visited places are busiest in the United States. Here’s what they found:

  • Grocery stores: Least busy on Mondays at 8 a.m.; busiest on Saturdays between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Pharmacies: Least busy on Mondays at 9 a.m.; busiest on Fridays at 3 p.m.
  • Coffee shops: Least busy on Tuesdays at 4 p.m.; busiest on Saturdays at 10 a.m.
  • Restaurants: Least busy on Tuesdays at 3 p.m.; busiest on Fridays at 6 p.m.
  • Parks: Least busy on weekdays at 7 a.m.; busiest on Saturday at 4 p.m.

But what about your local places? That’s where the new feature comes in.

How to use the new feature on Google Maps

If you haven’t already figured it out, here’s a breakdown of how to use the new Google Maps feature, courtesy of CNBC:

  • Open Google Maps on your phone.
  • Search for where you’re planning to go, like a pharmacy.
  • Tap it.
  • Scroll down past the description and phone number.
  • Stop where it says “Popular times.”
  • You’ll see a chart of how busy that place is right now and how busy it typically is at various points throughout the day.

If you want to learn more about the findings of the report, here’s a behind-the-scenes look at Google’s methodology.

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