The annual Black Friday sales are an amazing opportunity to pick up the latest tech, gifts, and homeware at bargain prices.
But the often-mammoth queues at the sales are enough to put anybody off going down the shops, despite them having often better prices than online on Black Friday.
Luckily, Google Maps have released an amazing new tool that will let you see where queues and busy areas are in advance so you can avoid them.
The feature, called 'Area Busyness', works a bit like Google Maps' traffic feature. It analyses live 'busyness' trends based on the number of smartphone users in an area and pings you a notification to let you instantly spot when a neighbourhood or shop is at its busiest.
You can also tap on an area to see how busy it is at different times of day. The feature will work all year round, so if you're just not a fan of crowds, it should come in handy.
Google announced the feature on its company blog, and said it will begin rolling out to Android and iOS features from today.
Black Friday queues are notoriously long. In the USA, people often camp outside shops overnight in order to be the first ones in to grab bargains, which has famously led to brawls and even riots in the past.
However, don't always be tempted by short queues. Maths whiz John Dutton Conant Little, an MIT professor, reckons longer queues staffed by multiple people are faster to wait in compared to short queues staffed by fewer people.
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Joost Vles wrote in The Conversation that you may be better off taking the long line. The Mirror quotes him as saying:
“With the Little’s Law equation and my own stopwatch, I’ve proven over and over again that a longer line may actually be a better line. Let me explain.
“Imagine a situation where you have many shorter lines, each being served by its own cashier."
“You can get out of there quickly only if you correctly guess which line will move the quickest. And if you’re anything like me, you’re bound to bet on the wrong line.”
He continued: “But a single, longer line, being served by multiple employees — think banking, the motor vehicle department, or airport security — is actually faster for everyone."
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