According to official docs, Google estimates wait time in places https://support.google.com/business/answer/6263531?hl=en

Wait time estimates: Shows how long a customer would have to wait before receiving service during different times of the day, as well as the peak wait time for each day of the week. The displayed wait time is based on patterns of customer visits over the last several weeks. Wait time estimation differs for different business types. For instance, a sit-down restaurant's wait time reflects how long customers wait before being seated. Whereas, a grocery store's wait time reflects how long customers wait to check out their items.

How do they do that simply relying on GPS data?

1 Answer 1


It's a combination of:

  1. Location data from GPS, mobile network, Wi-Fi and maybe more.
    • You can see in your location history where have you been and see that Google recognizes how long you spent there, with the help of the mentioned data sources.
  2. User answers to question regards that place.
    • If I remember correctly, some of the questions Google asks users/visitors about places has to do with waiting times, general time spent in a place etc.
    • More examples when I'll have some - I'm pretty sure that similar questions exists also for bus stations and shops.
    • There's also a question I remember which is something like "How long people usually stay here?"
  3. Maybe more things that I'm unaware of.

Screenshot examples for 2)

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  • 1
    Got it. I was wondering if Google would rely just on GPS data. As you argued, probably not. I'm pretty sure that buses stations are another story. Google does have transit data. So they can do more accurate estimations of waiting times ;) Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 12:33

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