Google introduced a new search feature today which will show when local stores are at their busiest.
For now, this useful feature will only be available on Android mobile devices.
According to a Google FAQ received by Mike Blumenthal, the search giant gets its data on a store’s foot traffic from users who have opted-in to location sharing.
The information provided is completely anonymous, and Google isn’t tracking anything that people haven’t opted into to begin with.
This data will not be shown for all businesses — according to Google, the information “shows for places where users are commonly worried about how busy it typically gets.”
In addition, Google says this data will show up for locations with Google Maps listings that receive regular foot traffic.
It sounds like it’s a good sign if Google starts displaying foot traffic data about your business — it means people either either searching for you or visiting your physical location.
Unfortunately, if you don’t like the idea of Google displaying your store’s foot traffic data there’s no way to opt out of it because Google believes its important for searchers.
In Google’s words, “We believe this information is valuable for customers in deciding when and where to go.”
The data could also end up being beneficial for businesses as a way to drive more foot traffic during off-peak hours.
This new feature is currently rolling out to Android devices and will be available worldwide.
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