It's nice to stop every once in a while and realize just how much Google search has improved over the years. For quite a while, Google didn't really prioritize time-sensitive content versus regular content when it crawled the web. This meant breaking news stories were cached about as frequently as Wikipedia entries on the history of the Roman Empire. That didn't really change until the events of September 11, when Google realized people who were searching for news on the attacks were instead being greeted with tourist information for the World Trade Center.

All these small improvements are hard to notice individually, but they really add up over time. Today, Google has announced one more of those little changes, and while it may seem rather minor, it might be the sort of thing we'll look back on in a few years and wonder how we ever managed to go without.

Now, whenever you look up a business on Search or Maps, Google will tell you about holiday hours for it during the next seven days. If you've ever walked to your favorite restaurant or driven to the store for some last-minute Christmas shopping, only to realize it was closed because of a holiday, you'll appreciate just how helpful this actually is.

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Not every business has its holiday hours listed online, so if Google isn't sure whether a particular business will be open on a given holiday, it will warn that the open hours may be different than the ones displayed.

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Additionally, you can also use the "Open Now" filter to not include results for places that are currently closed, and since holiday hours are available globally, this will come in handy when you're roaming the streets of Vienna on Christmas Eve searching for a cozy spot for some hot cocoa.

Image credit: Search Engine Land