Google Maps for iPhone now shows you restaurant wait times

It’s always disappointing when, with your tummy rumbling, you turn up at your restaurant of choice to find other people already waiting for a table.

Of course, you could book ahead, but sometimes we just want to rock up because we’re close by. Well, Google Maps for iPhone now lets you see the average wait time for restaurants around the world, thanks to the latest update (version 4.47).

The feature has been working for Google Search since last November, but this week’s update brings it to Google Maps, too, and expands it to millions of eateries.

It means a restaurant’s information card within the app now shows not only the popular times hour by hour throughout the day, but also how crowded a place is likely to be at the time you’re looking (sometimes with real-time info), and a note indicating how long you may have to hang around for before you can start scoffing yourself. It also lets you know the time of day when you’re likely to have to wait the longest, in which case you can change your plans or simply stomach it and join the line.

The latest update for Google’s Maps app also brings improvements for transit directions so you can see precisely which entrance you need to take for the most efficient route to your train. This will be useful for large stations where some entrances lead to different parts of the premises, possibly even away from the platform you need. The feature is available now for folks in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Budapest, Moscow, Kiev, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, and Delhi. And yes, more locations are on the way.

Google’s Maps team has been rolling out a slew of updates in recent months, packing the software with more new features.

The ongoing work follows a major overhaul in the design of the interface last November, which aimed to reflect “your world, right now,” according Liz Hunt, product manager of Google Maps. So it now highlights information that’s relevant to whatever you’re doing within Maps at any given time. That means gas stations will show up more prominently in Navigation, and train stations in Transit, and so on. Newly designed icons also help you to more easily identify useful or interesting places nearby.

To learn more about Google Maps and all that it has to offer, be sure to check out Digital Trends’ handy guide.

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