Google Maps could help us survive the holiday shopping season

Christmas shopping is guaranteed to unleash my inner Grinch. The urgency, the icy temperatures, the emptying shelves, and the crowds — sweet Santa, the crowds! They turn my Yuletide glee into deep holiday blues.

This year, however, Google Maps is delivering some festive help.

The app has gift-wrapped a bundle of new features to help shoppers survive the holiday rush.

First up is Area Busyness, which analyzes geographical data to show when a neighborhood is crowded.

Open up Google Maps, and the app will show you the locations to avoid. You can then tap on a neighborhood to see how busy it gets throughout the day, and review the crowdedness of venues in the area.

Google says that feature is rolling out globally on Android and iOS “in time for this holiday season.”