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Google Maps just got a killer upgrade — how to try it now

Google Maps
(Image credit: BigTunaOnline/Shutterstock)

Google Maps has got a big update that should make it easier for you to find the ingredients for a Thanksgiving dinner without running into crowds and possibly exposing yourself to COVID-19. 

Ahead of the U.S. public holiday, Google has updated Maps to tell users the best and worst times to visit grocery stores, restaurants, and coffee shops, based on the footfall to and from said locations. As such, that gives users a more of an insight into when they should visit a store and have the best chance of maintaining social distance. 

“Popular times and live busyness information in Google Maps have always been essential holiday tools, helping you avoid unwanted crowds. These tools help you know in advance when places are going to be busy so you can save precious time and also social distance,” Holly Day, chief holiday innovation officer at Google Maps explained

“So if you find yourself in need of a caffeine fix to tackle your holiday errands, make sure to avoid picking up coffee on Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. when coffee shops across America tend to be most packed. And if you’re planning to shop for a holiday meal, stay away from the grocery store on Saturday afternoons between 1-3 p.m. when you’re likely to encounter long lines.” 

The new feature is very easy to use, as when you type in direction to a grocery store or navigate to the nearest coffee shop, information about how busy that location is will be served up among the directions. 

As such, you can simply use Google Maps as you normally would and get this extra layer of information. It also shows up information about how crowded public transport is on your commute.

And with the addition of a COVID-19 overlay that gives users information about the total number of COVID-19 cases in their area, this upgrade to Google Maps should make it easier than ever to stay safe.