Google Mobile Knowledge Panels Now Showing Time “People Typically Spend”

First reported several days ago by 9 to 5 Google and highlighted again by Local SEO Brian Barwig on Twitter, Google is now showing average times spent at different businesses.

It can report either a specific time or a range of times and only appears to be showing on businesses that have a lot of traffic. For example the local Walmart does show it but the busiest local restaurant does not. It also appears to be showing on mobile but not yet on the desktop.

While I find the usually popular feature helpful, it is not clear that this new feature offers similar benefits. But maybe I am missing something.


Google, with the growth of Android, obviously is gathering massive amounts of location data. The location history is opt in but I would imagine that Google still is generating enough data to make these predictions.

One more creepy development in a long line of creepy developments.

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Google Mobile Knowledge Panels Now Showing Time "People Typically Spend" by

9 thoughts on “Google Mobile Knowledge Panels Now Showing Time “People Typically Spend””

  1. Yeah this is a little creepy but I imagine a heap of folks will start to find this useful…

    Could influence time spent?
    Can you trust this data and might it start to influence how long people might stay at your business location? If the average stay at a theme park is 2 hours will people start to feel like they have spent enough time and want to leave after 2 hours?

    Aggregated insights?
    I assume Google might start to aggregate this information in the things to do in X results… so Google could potentially plan you the perfect day trip, what top attractions to visit, advise when to visit, how long to stay…

    Quality Factor?
    A thought could this be used as something of a quality factor in the future… ie if it’s a real business users will spend more than 1 minute there…

    1. @david all interesting points but for most people most of the time do they really care how long the average person spends shopping at [Walmart,Target, Trader Joe’s]? There are things they need and they will shop till its done.

      If they showed average time throughout the day one could then surmise wasted time when compared with traffic but it doesn’t provide that. Just an average.

      Pretty lame statistic from my POV that pulls the curtain on Google’s vast data collection ability but provides little value for day to day living.

  2. I wonder if this could help w restaurants. If you’re in a hurry and need a quick lunch this could help. Also there are three Chipotle restaurants I frequent. One always has long lines and a long wait, the other has long lines but always moves quickly, they seem to be fully staffed at all times w solid, long-time employees. And there’s a very new one with zero lines in four visits (people may not know it’s there yet?)

    Regardless, yes, I eat a lot of Chipotle. 🙂

  3. Whoops, meant to finish by saying, this could help people decide which location to go to. I am about equidistant from all three locations. And seeing time spent in Google may help others decide which location to go to. Maybe a certain WalMart has better employees and they ring people out quicker?

    1. @sandra
      Yes both are possibilities… although with a new location Google wouldn’t have enough data to yet share it might be possible to get some value from the information that way.

  4. @david & @mike That’s EXACTLY what I’m saying. And I understand sometimes longer could be better as Mike points out (I know the lady friend has complained when a strip mall manicure shop speeds people through and they don’t take their time). But perhaps Google could just list average times but not in any particular order, just as fact but let you decide for yourself.

  5. I find both the popular times and this new “average” or approximate time people spend in a place…to be very creepy. Be aware, the business websites tend not to show this, yelp, bing, in fact I don’t think any other site shows this.

    Google is mining location data from your mobile; aggregating it and sending it out to the rest of the public.

    Did you specifically OKAY this usage of your location data? Do you want google to do this.? I don’t. But in order to use google’s services I agreed to their broad terms and conditions. I don’t have a choice.

    I bet in most large businesses if not many businesses they actually have the data as to whether its busy or not. The businesses staff up to meet customer demand. But they don’t publish the data. But nobody else publishes this. Did google ask permission of businesses to tell the public when they are busy or not??? NO.

    But presumably the public likes it. Honestly as much as I have a distaste for google’s size and power, as a member of the public I found this info helpful one time. It is or can be useful.

    In my case I found that I was going to my favorite supermarket at one of its busiest times. I changed my hours. Interestingly that was the same hours for every other supermarket in the area.

    Today when I looked at some various types of businesses for approximate time spent at the venues (stores) the specific times given were the same for each type of store.

    So is this good data, bs data, some kind of broad estimate that isn’t really detailed or accurate?

    Is it google “good will” data that ingratiates itself with the public? I don’t know.

    It is very creepy to me, as you describe above. Google has all this data and information. It takes data from mobile phones, aggregates it, repackages it and sends it out to the public. I for one don’t like them doing that with my data. Do the stores I visit like them doing that in their premises? As a business operator I wouldn’t want them doing that with visitors to our business. Its way too intrusive. They didn’t ask us for access.

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