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Use Google's new feature, and you might never wait for a treadmill again.

Lisa Lombardi
July 30, 2015

Hate waiting on a treadmill or locker-room hair dryer? A new tool that Google is rolling out will fix that: Search a place using your smartphone, and with your result you get a daily chart of when places like your gym, Whole Foods, or DMV are most and least crowded. It works by using foot traffic data collected from phones (yes, you're being tracked, but it's anonymous).

I Googled my gym—Equinox in Mamaroneck, NY—clicked on the more icon and learned that if I'm going after work (doubtful!), I'm way better off waiting until 8:30 rather than braving 7, the evening's craziest hour. And going off-peak could even help you get stronger by making you more confident to tackle weight work.

Some of this is self-evident, for sure. But the new intel (which is only available on mobile devices) can actually be game-changing. What if you learned, as I did, that your typical time to hit Trader Joe's (before dinner on Sunday) is ALL WRONG? That it's in fact the absolute WORST hour of the week to pick up quinoa and zucchini and down free coffee? You might just go on Saturday at 9am instead. That is, if you aren't too busy enjoying some peace and quiet at the near-empty gym.

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