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Use Google Maps to see how crowded a restaurant is in real time

Black Tap
Photograph: Courtesy Black Tap Black Tap

You know when you want to go to dinner to one of New York's buzzy new restaurants, but they're always jam-packed with a two-hour wait? You could either a) plan better or b) use Google Maps to figure out how many diners are currently at the restaurant.

Google rolled out the new feature quietly, relaying real-time crowds for the last-minute planners, or those on a time crunch. How do they do it? Well, Google knows everything and tracks your every move on your phone, so yeah.

The function has been available since November on desktop, but real-time mobile updates only became available with an iOS app update this week. So when you're jonesing for that Black Tap milkshake or a Shake Shack burger en route from work, you can actually see if getting off two stops early will be worth it. 

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