• The technology company’s feature will rate how busy a store is and typical visit duration
  • The feature is integrated into its search and map platforms
  • The company said it has added the feature to help shoppers navigate “Black Friday swarms”


Google has launched a footfall tracker to allow Black Friday and Christmas shoppers to check how busy a high street store is in real time.

The technology company’s latest service, which is offered as part of its Popular Times feature, will take location data from Google app users to offer shoppers a picture of how many shoppers are in a retail outlet.

Since July last year, the tech giant has offered a prediction of how busy various retail outlets would be based on historical trends, but this is the first time the information will be updated in real time.

The feature is intended to give bargain hunters a snapshot of which stores will be busy and peak shopping times during Black Friday and the run up to Christmas.

Bricks-and-mortar focus

Industry experts expect that Black Friday sales will be driven by online this year, but Google said it has launched the feature to enable shoppers to negotiate Black Friday crowds in bricks-and-mortar stores.

Product manager Jamie Aspinall said: “Just in time for the Black Friday swarms, we’re adding a real-time look at how crowded a place is right now, to help you decide where and when to go.

“Whether you’re rushing to pick up a last minute gift or seeking a lively bar for some festive spirit, check Popular Times for a sneak preview of what to expect when you arrive.”