Google Maps and Search now provide users with information regarding holiday business hours, thanks to a new update especially made in preparation of the Christmas shopping season.
The announcement was made by Jonathan Sidi, product manager at Google Maps & Local Search, in a blog post, published on November 6.
The feature works in the following way: when a user searches for a business and in the following 7 days a major holiday is about to take place, information is provided regarding the special schedule of that establishment for that period.
For restaurants, retail shops or other businesses which have made their holiday hours available, Google Maps will list this data upon conducting the search.
In contrast, for companies which haven’t yet revealed their schedule during the Christmas holiday season, there will a warning message stating that trading hours might in fact differ throughout that period.
This way, customers who don’t inform themselves beforehand using other means of communication can avoid driving up to that location and discovering that it is in fact closed.
In addition, those who do take such precautions can also save precious time, because they won’t have to access the official website or contact the company by phone or e-mail in order to obtain this piece of information.
Data regarding holiday hours will be available internationally, so even tourists who are spending their holidays beyond the U.S. border will still get to access updated details regarding their chosen local business.
“If you happen to be celebrating Boxing Day in the UK or New Yea’s Eve in Sweden, you’ll see info specific to the country you’re in. How’s that for traveling like a local?”, asks Sidi in the blog announcement.
There is also a new “open now” filter which will provide users with a list of restaurants, coffee shops or other businesses located nearby, which are trading at that moment.
This way, if people are caught in that holiday frenzy of last-minute shopping and the shops they frequent the most are closed, they will be able to identify other retail stores which are still open for business and within walking distance of their initial choice.
The update is currently available for Maps and Mobile Search as well, and it’s part of a series of additional features that have been introduced lately by the tech conglomerate.
For example, on November 4, panoramic images in 360 degrees were launched for seven of New Zealand’s “Great Walks” on Google Street View.
On October 20, gas stations, restaurants or restaurants were incorporated in the navigation mode for Google Maps, to allow drivers to make detours without having to retype their destination afterwards.
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