Skip the line: restaurant wait times on Search and Maps

When it comes to a saucy bowl of pasta or a perfectly cooked steak, people are willing to wait in (long) lines for a taste of their favorite comfort foods. Rolling out soon, wait times on Google Search (and coming soon to Maps) shows you the estimated wait at your favorite restaurants. Now you can decide whether that cronut is really worth an hour wait or plan ahead to get your fix at a time when you can avoid a wait entirely.

WaitTimesGIF

To see wait times for nearly a million sit-down restaurants around the world that allow walk-ins, just search for the restaurant on Google, open the business listing, and scroll down to the Popular Times section. There you’ll see the estimated wait time at that very moment. And by tapping on any of the hour bars, you’ll see the estimated wait for that time period. You can even scroll left and right to see a summary of each day’s wait times below the hour bars–so you can plan ahead to beat the crowds.

Wait time estimates are based on anonymized historical data, similar to how we compute the previously launched Popular Times and Visit Duration features.

Making search results more local and relevant

When you’re searching on Google, we aim to provide the most useful results for your query. Today, around one in five searches on Google is related to location, so providing locally relevant search results is an essential part of serving you the most accurate information.

In order to provide this optimal experience, your location determines the country service you receive results for across Google Search and Maps. Historically, these services have been labeled and accessed via country code top level domain names (ccTLD) such as [google.ng for Nigeria] or [google.com.br for Brazil]. You may also have typed in the relevant ccTLD in your browser.

Today, we’ve updated the way we label country services on the mobile web, the Google app for iOS, and desktop Search and Maps. Now the choice of country service will no longer be indicated by domain. Instead, by default, you’ll be served the country service that corresponds to your location. So if you live in Australia, you’ll automatically receive the country service for Australia, but when you travel to New Zealand, your results will switch automatically to the country service for New Zealand. Upon return to Australia, you will seamlessly revert back to the Australian country service.

domainless4.gif

If for some reason you don’t see the right country when you’re browsing, you can still go into settings and select the correct country service you want to receive. Typing the relevant ccTLD in your browser will no longer bring you to the various country services—this preference should be managed directly in settings. In addition, at the bottom of the search results page, you can clearly see which country service you are currently using.

NewZealand.png

It’s important to note that while this update will change the way Google Search and Maps services are labeled, it won’t affect the way these products work, nor will it change how we handle obligations under national law. This update will help ensure that you get the most relevant results based on your location and is consistent with how Google already manages our services across a number of our other platforms, including YouTube, Blogger, Google Earth and Gmail, among others.

We’re confident this change will improve your Search experience, automatically providing you with the most useful information based on your search query and other context, including location.

All your questions answered on Google Maps and Search

When deciding where to go and what to do, we often ask ourselves lots of questions before making a decision. Soon, you’ll be able to ask those questions, get the answers you need, and even answer other people’s questions about places on Google Maps for Android and mobile Search.

To ask or answer a question—or read the existing questions and answers about a place—simply search for the location on Google Maps or Search and open the local business listing. Then scroll down to the “Question & answers” section where you can add a question, answer someone else’s question, or upvote informative ones by tapping the thumbs up icon. Upvoted questions and answers will appear toward the top of the section so that the most helpful content is most accessible.

To make sure “Questions & answers” contains the most accurate and useful local info possible, business owners can add frequently asked questions and answers as well. In addition, when you ask a question about a place, we notify the business owner and other in-the-know users to see if they have knowledgeable answers to contribute. When your question is answered, we notify you too.

No matter where you’re headed or what you’re looking to do, Google Maps and Search highlights the information you need to make quick decisions and discover the world around you.

*This feature is rolling out to Google Maps and mobile Search users worldwide. 

All your questions answered on Google Maps and Search

When deciding where to go and what to do, we often ask ourselves lots of questions before making a decision. Soon, you’ll be able to ask those questions, get the answers you need, and even answer other people’s questions about places on Google Maps for Android and mobile Search.

To ask or answer a question—or read the existing questions and answers about a place—simply search for the location on Google Maps or Search and open the local business listing. Then scroll down to the “Question & answers” section where you can add a question, answer someone else’s question, or upvote informative ones by tapping the thumbs up icon. Upvoted questions and answers will appear toward the top of the section so that the most helpful content is most accessible.

To make sure “Questions & answers” contains the most accurate and useful local info possible, business owners can add frequently asked questions and answers as well. In addition, when you ask a question about a place, we notify the business owner and other in-the-know users to see if they have knowledgeable answers to contribute. When your question is answered, we notify you too.

No matter where you’re headed or what you’re looking to do, Google Maps and Search highlights the information you need to make quick decisions and discover the world around you.

*This feature is rolling out to Google Maps and mobile Search users worldwide. 

All your questions answered on Google Maps and Search

When deciding where to go and what to do, we often ask ourselves lots of questions before making a decision. Soon, you’ll be able to ask those questions, get the answers you need, and even answer other people’s questions about places on Google Maps for Android and mobile Search.

To ask or answer a question—or read the existing questions and answers about a place—simply search for the location on Google Maps or Search and open the local business listing. Then scroll down to the “Question & answers” section where you can add a question, answer someone else’s question, or upvote informative ones by tapping the thumbs up icon. Upvoted questions and answers will appear toward the top of the section so that the most helpful content is most accessible.

Q&Agif

To make sure “Questions & answers” contains the most accurate and useful local info possible, business owners can add frequently asked questions and answers as well. In addition, when you ask a question about a place, we notify the business owner and other in-the-know users to see if they have knowledgeable answers to contribute. When your question is answered, we notify you too.

No matter where you’re headed or what you’re looking to do, Google Maps and Search highlights the information you need to make quick decisions and discover the world around you.

*This feature is rolling out to Google Maps and mobile Search users worldwide. 

Chillax, it’s National Relaxation Day!

Even though the calendar says it’s only Tuesday, we say it’s time to kick back and relax. After all, National Relaxation Day comes but once a year! And if you’re like the 44% of Americans who feel more stressed than they did five years ago, you may be in need of a break. To help you unwind, we’ve put together some tips and tricks to calm down, free up your mind, and release the stress.

Starting off in Google Search, we have some go-to guides to help you chill out. First, try typing “breathing exercises” into Google, and you’ll see a nice guided exercise right at the top of search results. Cue exhale…and inhale! For the established (or aspiring) yogis out there, you may also want to check out some of the yoga positions that are just a tap away. And don’t worry, if you’re not up for the Chakrasana, Bālāsana still counts. Namaste.

Relaxation Day.png

More of a video viewer? You’re not alone. Guided meditation videos on YouTube are on the rise, with an 84% increase in views since last year. Some popular picks include Blissful Deep Relaxation by The Honest Guys and Guided Meditation for Sleep… Floating Amongst the Stars by Jason Stephenson. Oooohhhmmmmm.

youtube relax

If you want to pamper yourself on National Relaxation Day, head over to Google Maps. You can now book appointments at spas and salons across the U.S. To get started, do a quick look for a nearby salon, barbershop or spa and look for the “book” button on the business listing. You can also visit the Reserve with Google site to browse recommendations or find serene spots you never knew existed.

beauty

This is just a sample of the serenity that awaits. And if you’re stuck at  your computer, here’s a pro tip: take a breather with the Mindful Break Chrome extension that gives you tips and guides you through some short breathing exercises. Ready, set, chillax!  

Chillax, it’s National Relaxation Day!

Even though the calendar says it’s only Tuesday, we say it’s time to kick back and relax. After all, National Relaxation Day comes but once a year! And if you’re like the 44% of Americans who feel more stressed than they did five years ago, you may be in need of a break. To help you unwind, we’ve put together some tips and tricks to calm down, free up your mind, and release the stress.

Starting off in Google Search, we have some go-to guides to help you chill out. First, try typing “breathing exercises” into Google, and you’ll see a nice guided exercise right at the top of search results. Cue exhale…and inhale! For the established (or aspiring) yogis out there, you may also want to check out some of the yoga positions that are just a tap away. And don’t worry, if you’re not up for the Chakrasana, Bālāsana still counts. Namaste.

Relaxation Day.png

More of a video viewer? You’re not alone. Guided meditation videos on YouTube are on the rise, with an 84% increase in views since last year. Some popular picks include Blissful Deep Relaxation by The Honest Guys and Guided Meditation for Sleep… Floating Amongst the Stars by Jason Stephenson. Oooohhhmmmmm.

youtube relax

If you want to pamper yourself on National Relaxation Day, head over to Google Maps. You can now book appointments at spas and salons across the U.S. To get started, do a quick look for a nearby salon, barbershop or spa and look for the “book” button on the business listing. You can also visit the Reserve with Google site to browse recommendations or find serene spots you never knew existed.

beauty

This is just a sample of the serenity that awaits. And if you’re stuck at  your computer, here’s a pro tip: take a breather with the Mindful Break Chrome extension that gives you tips and guides you through some short breathing exercises. Ready, set, chillax!  

Chillax, it’s National Relaxation Day!

Even though the calendar says it’s only Tuesday, we say it’s time to kick back and relax. After all, National Relaxation Day comes but once a year! And if you’re like the 44% of Americans who feel more stressed than they did five years ago, you may be in need of a break. To help you unwind, we’ve put together some tips and tricks to calm down, free up your mind, and release the stress.

Starting off in Google Search, we have some go-to guides to help you chill out. First, try typing “breathing exercises” into Google, and you’ll see a nice guided exercise right at the top of search results. Cue exhale…and inhale! For the established (or aspiring) yogis out there, you may also want to check out some of the yoga positions that are just a tap away. And don’t worry, if you’re not up for the Chakrasana, Bālāsana still counts. Namaste.

Relaxation Day.png

More of a video viewer? You’re not alone. Guided meditation videos on YouTube are on the rise, with an 84% increase in views since last year. Some popular picks include Blissful Deep Relaxation by The Honest Guys and Guided Meditation for Sleep… Floating Amongst the Stars by Jason Stephenson. Oooohhhmmmmm.

youtube relax

If you want to pamper yourself on National Relaxation Day, head over to Google Maps. You can now book appointments at spas and salons across the U.S. To get started, do a quick look for a nearby salon, barbershop or spa and look for the “book” button on the business listing. You can also visit the Reserve with Google site to browse recommendations or find serene spots you never knew existed.

beauty

This is just a sample of the serenity that awaits. And if you’re stuck at  your computer, here’s a pro tip: take a breather with the Mindful Break Chrome extension that gives you tips and guides you through some short breathing exercises. Ready, set, chillax!  

Making the internet work better for everyone in Africa

By 2034 Africa is expected to have the world’s largest working-age population of 1.1 billion—yet only 3 to 4 million jobs are created annually. That means there’s an urgent need to create opportunities for the millions of people on the continent who are creative, smart and driven to succeed. The internet, and technology as a whole, offer great opportunities for creating jobs, growing businesses and boosting economies. But people need the right skills, tools and products to navigate the digital world and to make it work for them, their businesses and their communities.

Google for Nigeria - Sundar
Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, is interviewed by Nigerian journalist Adesuwa Onyenokwe at our Google for Nigeria event in Lagos.

Today, at our Google for Nigeria event in Lagos, we announced progress we’ve made in our products and features for users in Nigeria, including YouTube, Search and Maps. We also announced initiatives focused on digital skills training, education and economic opportunity, and support for African startups and developers.

Digital Skills for Africa

Last year we set out to help bridge the digital skills gap in Africa when we pledged to train one million young people in the region—and we’ve exceeded this target. Through either in-person or online trainings, we help people learn to build a web presence, use Search to find jobs, get tips to enhance their CV, use social media, and so on. Now we’re expanding this program, and committing to prepare another 10 million people for jobs of the future in the next five years. We’ll also be providing mobile developer training to 100,000 Africans to develop world-class apps, with an initial focus on Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

Google.org grants

Our charitable arm, Google.org, is committing $20 million over the next five years to nonprofits that are working to improve lives across Africa. We’re giving $2.5 million in initial grants to the nonprofit arms of African startups Gidi Mobile and Siyavula to provide free access to learning for 400,000 low-income students in South Africa and Nigeria. The grantees will also develop new digital learning materials that will be free for anyone to use.

We also want to invite nonprofits from across the continent to share their ideas for how they could impact their community and beyond. So we’re launching a Google.org Impact Challenge in Africa in 2018 to award $5 million in grants. Any eligible nonprofit in Africa can apply, and anyone will be able to help select the best ideas by voting online.

Launchpad Accelerator Africa

We want to do more to support African entrepreneurs in building successful technology companies and products. Based on our global Launchpad Accelerator program, this initiative will provide more than $3 million in equity-free funding, mentorship, working space and access to expert advisers to more than 60 African startups over three years. Intensive three-month programs, held twice per year, will run out of a new Google Launchpad Space in Lagos—the program’s first location outside of the United States.

Making our products work better in Africa

For people to take advantage of digital opportunities, acquiring the right skills and tools is only part of the equation. Online products and services—including ours—also need to work better in Africa. Today, we’re sharing news about how we’re making YouTube, Search and Maps more useful and relevant for Nigerian users.

YouTube Go

Designed from the ground up, YouTube Go lets you discover, save and share videos you love in a way that’s transparent about the size of downloads. Designed to be “offline” first, the app improves the experience of watching videos on a slower network and gives control over the amount of data used streaming or saving videos. It’s a full YouTube experience, with fresh and relevant video recommendations tailored to your preferences and the ability to share videos quickly and easily with friends nearby.  In June, Nigeria became the second country where we started actively testing YouTube Go. Later this year, we’ll be expanding this to a beta launch of the app, available to all Nigerian users.

Lagos now on Street View in Google Maps

In the last few months, we’ve improved our address search experience in Lagos, by adding thousands of new addresses and streets, outlines of more than a million buildings in commercial and residential areas, and more than 100,000 additional Nigerian small businesses on Google Maps. Today we’re launching Lagos on Street View, with 10,000 kilometers of imagery, including the most important historic roads in the city. You can virtually drive along the Carter Bridge to the National Stadium or across the Eko Bridge, down to the Marina—all on your smartphone.

Faster web results

When you’re on a 2G-like connection or using a low storage device, pages can take a long time to load. We previously launched a feature that streamlines search results so they load with less data and at high speed.  Today we’re extending that feature to streamline websites you reach from search results, so that they load with 90 percent less data and five times faster, even on low storage devices.  

More local information in Search

We’ve also made several updates to Search to bring more useful, relevant answers and information to people in Nigeria:

  • Knowledge Panels: We’re connecting people with easy access to the answers to things they care about, displaying knowledge cards for everything from local football teams to Nigerian musicians and actors.

  • Health Cards: Later this year we’ll launch more than 800 knowledge cards detailing common symptoms and treatments for the most prevalent health conditions in Nigeria. We’ve partnered with the University of Ibadan to ensure that answers have been reviewed by Nigerian doctors for local relevance and accuracy. Nigeria is one of the first countries where we’re providing locally tailored health answers on Search.  

  • Posts on Google: Posts makes it possible for musicians, entertainers and other public figures to share updates, images and videos directly on Google, for people to see while they explore on the web. Nigeria is the third country where we’ve made this feature available and some of the country’s popular musicians are already using it.

The things we’re announcing today are what drive us—building platforms and products that are relevant and useful for billions, not just the few, and helping people to succeed in the digital economy. That’s why we hope to equip more people, in Africa and elsewhere, with digital skills and tools. We’re excited to be part of Africa’s evolving digital story.

Making the internet work better for everyone in Africa

By 2034 Africa is expected to have the world’s largest working-age population of 1.1 billion—yet only 3 to 4 million jobs are created annually. That means there’s an urgent need to create opportunities for the millions of people on the continent who are creative, smart and driven to succeed. The internet, and technology as a whole, offer great opportunities for creating jobs, growing businesses and boosting economies. But people need the right skills, tools and products to navigate the digital world and to make it work for them, their businesses and their communities.

Google for Nigeria - Sundar
Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, is interviewed by Nigerian journalist Adesuwa Onyenokwe at our Google for Nigeria event in Lagos.

Today, at our Google for Nigeria event in Lagos, we announced progress we’ve made in our products and features for users in Nigeria, including YouTube, Search and Maps. We also announced initiatives focused on digital skills training, education and economic opportunity, and support for African startups and developers.

Digital Skills for Africa

Last year we set out to help bridge the digital skills gap in Africa when we pledged to train one million young people in the region—and we’ve exceeded this target. Through either in-person or online trainings, we help people learn to build a web presence, use Search to find jobs, get tips to enhance their CV, use social media, and so on. Now we’re expanding this program, and committing to prepare another 10 million people for jobs of the future in the next five years. We’ll also be providing mobile developer training to 100,000 Africans to develop world-class apps, with an initial focus on Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

Google.org grants

Our charitable arm, Google.org, is committing $20 million over the next five years to nonprofits that are working to improve lives across Africa. We’re giving $2.5 million in initial grants to the nonprofit arms of African startups Gidi Mobile and Siyavula to provide free access to learning for 400,000 low-income students in South Africa and Nigeria. The grantees will also develop new digital learning materials that will be free for anyone to use.

We also want to invite nonprofits from across the continent to share their ideas for how they could impact their community and beyond. So we’re launching a Google.org Impact Challenge in Africa in 2018 to award $5 million in grants. Any eligible nonprofit in Africa can apply, and anyone will be able to help select the best ideas by voting online.

Launchpad Accelerator Africa

We want to do more to support African entrepreneurs in building successful technology companies and products. Based on our global Launchpad Accelerator program, this initiative will provide more than $3 million in equity-free funding, mentorship, working space and access to expert advisers to more than 60 African startups over three years. Intensive three-month programs, held twice per year, will run out of a new Google Launchpad Space in Lagos—the program’s first location outside of the United States.

Making our products work better in Africa

For people to take advantage of digital opportunities, acquiring the right skills and tools is only part of the equation. Online products and services—including ours—also need to work better in Africa. Today, we’re sharing news about how we’re making YouTube, Search and Maps more useful and relevant for Nigerian users.

YouTube Go

Designed from the ground up, YouTube Go lets you discover, save and share videos you love in a way that’s transparent about the size of downloads. Designed to be “offline” first, the app improves the experience of watching videos on a slower network and gives control over the amount of data used streaming or saving videos. It’s a full YouTube experience, with fresh and relevant video recommendations tailored to your preferences and the ability to share videos quickly and easily with friends nearby.  In June, Nigeria became the second country where we started actively testing YouTube Go. Later this year, we’ll be expanding this to a beta launch of the app, available to all Nigerian users.

Lagos now on Street View in Google Maps

In the last few months, we’ve improved our address search experience in Lagos, by adding thousands of new addresses and streets, outlines of more than a million buildings in commercial and residential areas, and more than 100,000 additional Nigerian small businesses on Google Maps. Today we’re launching Lagos on Street View, with 10,000 kilometers of imagery, including the most important historic roads in the city. You can virtually drive along the Carter Bridge to the National Stadium or across the Eko Bridge, down to the Marina—all on your smartphone.

Faster web results

When you’re on a 2G-like connection or using a low storage device, pages can take a long time to load. We previously launched a feature that streamlines search results so they load with less data and at high speed.  Today we’re extending that feature to streamline websites you reach from search results, so that they load with 90 percent less data and five times faster, even on low storage devices.  

More local information in Search

We’ve also made several updates to Search to bring more useful, relevant answers and information to people in Nigeria:

  • Knowledge Panels: We’re connecting people with easy access to the answers to things they care about, displaying knowledge cards for everything from local football teams to Nigerian musicians and actors.

  • Health Cards: Later this year we’ll launch more than 800 knowledge cards detailing common symptoms and treatments for the most prevalent health conditions in Nigeria. We’ve partnered with the University of Ibadan to ensure that answers have been reviewed by Nigerian doctors for local relevance and accuracy. Nigeria is one of the first countries where we’re providing locally tailored health answers on Search.  

  • Posts on Google: Posts makes it possible for musicians, entertainers and other public figures to share updates, images and videos directly on Google, for people to see while they explore on the web. Nigeria is the third country where we’ve made this feature available and some of the country’s popular musicians are already using it.

The things we’re announcing today are what drive us—building platforms and products that are relevant and useful for billions, not just the few, and helping people to succeed in the digital economy. That’s why we hope to equip more people, in Africa and elsewhere, with digital skills and tools. We’re excited to be part of Africa’s evolving digital story.