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Last year, Google gave businesses the ability to list their busiest hours on Google Maps listings so that customers can better plan their shopping during the holiday season. Now, they are taking it a step further.

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Instead of relying on businesses to update their Popular Times listings, Google Maps will use real-time data to predict just how busy a location is right now.

”Whether you’re rushing to pick up a last minute gift or seeking a lively bar for some festive spirit, check Popular Times for a sneak preview of what to expect when you arrive.”

In addition to this new feature, Google is giving more flexibility to stores that operate separate departments with differing business hours. Businesses can now list separate departments and service hours in their Search and Maps listings.

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This new feature could be particularly useful for department stores or retail stores with pharmacy, supermarket, or automotive departments.

Google is also providing shoppers with shopping behavior data like how long people tend to spend in a store so they can make the most of their time during the holiday shopping season. Along with listing your business’s busiest hours, the search engine is also rolling out a feature that lets you tell shoppers how long the average person spends in your store.

All three new features rolled out this morning and should be live on Google Maps and Search for all users.

Have your checked your business’s Knowledge Graph information lately? If you haven’t, you may be hearing from Google the next time you perform a search.

Recently, Dan Leveille discovered that Google is proactively reaching out to searchers and urging them to keep their business listing up-to-date. If you haven’t checked on your listings recently, you may see a similar alert to the one below next time you sign in with a Google account associated with a Google My Business page.

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Leveille notes:

“Other than asking developers to include social profile data, this seems like the first time Google is proactively asking business owners to directly suggest edits to their Knowledge Graph info.”

Leveille also uncovered a newly updated help document from Google detailing the criteria for being considered an “official representative of an entity in the Knowledge Graph.”

This is a significant move by Google to try to clean up out-of-date Knowledge Graph information and provide accurate listings. Both local businesses and major corporations can take advantage of the Knowledge Graph, so it is always a good idea to regularly check your listings and make sure they are current.