Amid the festive season and rising cases of COVID-19, Google has devised a feature to help its users avoid crowds. Google Maps has launched a new feature called Busy Zone, which will show the city’s busiest areas. This feature is designed to help people avoid crowding and instantly check if a neighborhood or part of a city has more crowds than usual.

This new feature works with both Android and iOS devices. While Google Maps introduced this feature a few years ago, the company is now releasing the feature to all users. The feature will work in areas with cafes, restaurants, shops, and museums.

This feature has been part of Google Maps since 2016. Users were able to find information about the current occupancy of locations by clicking on a specific place on the maps. Also, this year Google introduced some indicators such as displaying “Normally not too busy” and “Normally busy as busy” under site names.

“We collect direct occupancy trends from places in an area, such as shops, restaurants, parks, cafes, etc. to determine their general level of occupancy. These trends indicate how busy an area is typically – and when nearby or at its busiest, we highlight it as an ‘occupied area’ on Google Maps. To protect the privacy of our users, our systems do not calculate occupancy information for residential places such as a home or apartment,” the tech giant said on its support page.

The feature was announced last month on Google Blog page. Area Busyness combines trends of neighborhood busyness to show the busiest places in a particular town or city. These trends are allegedly based on aggregate location history data the company claims from people who selected them from their Google accounts.

In another post, the company explained that the data is useful in calculating how busy a place is typically for each hour of the week. The benchmark is the busiest hour as calculated by the app – and the busyness data for the rest of the week relative to that hour.

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After analyzing the data, the most crowded area is classified as an “occupied area”. The user needs to click on it to see a chart showing how busy the area is at different hours of the day. According to Gadgets360, Google will start rolling out this feature globally to all users, including India users.

(Edited by: Shoma Bhattacharjee)

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