♫♫ I want to go where the people aren't... ♫♫
November 4, 2015 10:23 AM   Subscribe

Avoid Humans is a service that scours Foursquare and Instagram checkins to find nearby coffee shops, restaurants, and bars that are the least likely to be crowded.
posted by schmod (42 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
 
At last - the website I've waited for all these years. Thank you!!!
posted by Tullyogallaghan at 10:28 AM on November 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


Even if it just helps you avoid people who use Foursquare this is really valuable.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:29 AM on November 4, 2015 [33 favorites]


So it's like Google Maps traffic info, but for pedestrians...
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:30 AM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well...the choices for my location were interesting. I will delight in telling my husband that the sad lonely city park at the end of a nearby street might have some use after all.
posted by Kitteh at 10:30 AM on November 4, 2015


Right now (lunchtime, weekday) it's showing literally every restaurant in downtown St. Paul as agoraphobics welcome. Seems about right.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:31 AM on November 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


FINALLY!

Thanks so much for posting this!
posted by zarq at 10:33 AM on November 4, 2015


This is relevant to my interests
posted by wabbittwax at 10:34 AM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


My top three results were a place in Pennsylvania (roughly 200 miles away), a golf course, and a pizza place that's been closed since I moved here.
posted by codacorolla at 10:37 AM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Second result: a local taco place which is always packed to the gills, to the point of being standing room only during the lunch rush (which is about now). Uh-huh.
posted by sciatrix at 10:40 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I also got three no-longer open places in my immediate vicinity as well as the fancy restaurant in my office building. OUCH.
posted by Kitteh at 10:41 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


It told me to go to the new DC Momofuku Milk Bar which seems likely to be pretty wrong.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:41 AM on November 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


So in other words, more like Bing traffic info for pedestrians...
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:42 AM on November 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


It's also showing everywhere around me (in complete techie la-la land) as empty. I'll try again during the lunch hour.
posted by sunset in snow country at 10:43 AM on November 4, 2015


This is a great tool for picking MeFi Meetup locations ... oh wait, that would ruin the uncrowded nature of such places. Blast.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:44 AM on November 4, 2015


Does anyone actually knowingly use Foursquare? I only hear about it in the context of people being alarmed about privacy violations.
posted by sciatrix at 10:44 AM on November 4, 2015


Bulgaroktonos: "It told me to go to the new DC Momofuku Milk Bar which seems likely to be pretty wrong."

One might say so.
posted by exogenous at 10:45 AM on November 4, 2015


Actually Google has been doing something kinda similar. When you look up certain businesses or locations, there's short profile of the business or place in question. Sometimes in the profile there's a bar graph detailing "popular times", which details how popular a place is by the hour. I'm pretty sure this is based on location data that phones give off, and possibly searches for a business at certain hours in different Google apps.
posted by FJT at 10:45 AM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was hoping for a meltdown from asking it to avoid humans near my office by Rockefeller Center. None of those places are particularly absent of humans.
posted by kokaku at 10:48 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Nobody goes there. It's too crowded.
posted by Billiken at 10:51 AM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I also question this premise. Its suggestions for me are a dining hall and three coffee shops on Ohio State's campus of 60,000 students plus faculty and staff who are currently all either eating a late lunch or caffeinating to get through the rest of the afternoon.
posted by ChuraChura at 10:53 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Does it say how exactly they're analyzing the data? Ideally, I'd like to see them using data over a period of time, comparing right now to other similar times (weekdays, time of day, maybe weight it for more recent data to account for time of year). Of course, I suspect that this would just lead to the thing any dedicated hater of people should know, which is do things earlier than other people. Breakfast, not brunch, on weekends, and hit the bar by 5:00 (a little earlier on weekdays, if you can swing it). Hopefully, by the time those awful people start crowding in on your space, you're too drunk to care!
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:55 AM on November 4, 2015


Just do a Yelp search and sort the results by rating, in ascending order.
posted by jessssse at 10:57 AM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


From exogenous's link:

"The line stretched for 45 minutes behind him. But Quincy Jones had paid for his Cereal Milk soft-serve, and no way he was budging, no matter how many people he was holding up."

This reads like the first sentence of a kids' book about not being selfish.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:58 AM on November 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


Introverts of the world, unite!

Or don't, actually. That would defeat the purpose.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:07 AM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


This could be invaluable for San Francisco brunch.
posted by naju at 11:09 AM on November 4, 2015


Well it gave me a dozen or so options but I understand why there is no one at any of them because they are all places that pretty much suck. The may need to combine it with ratings too.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:11 AM on November 4, 2015


(yep, just went to caffeinate and waited in line for 10 minutes surrounded by seething hordes of undergrads. Alas).
posted by ChuraChura at 11:18 AM on November 4, 2015


It told me to go to the new DC Momofuku Milk Bar which seems likely to be pretty wrong.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:41 PM on November 4 [2 favorites +] [!]


No this is good this is right advice go go NOW bring back cookies for dinner cookies and pies the advice is right listen to it NOW go NOW!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 11:19 AM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Weird, my number 2 result is the coffee and donut shop that is only ever not completely busy between 8 and 9 in the morning. It would take me five minutes to go and check and see that yes, its busy. Very busy. You can sit outside when it's threatening to rain but that's about it.

Number 3 is the JJ Beans which again, is always full. I actually have to scroll down quite a bit to find a place, a nice little park, that I know won't be busy. Maybe there's no one on foursquare where I live? That sounds about right. The places it doesn't list, which would actually be open and empty, interest me quite a bit more.
posted by Neronomius at 11:33 AM on November 4, 2015


It's woefully inaccurate for my local places too, which it says are empty but I know for a fact are full of snarking hipsters.
posted by colie at 11:36 AM on November 4, 2015


>Does anyone actually knowingly use Foursquare?

I do, and some of my friends do, but less (and fewer of them) than we used to.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 11:38 AM on November 4, 2015


Show me the cat cafes within five miles with the highest cat/human ratio, please..
posted by Sheydem-tants at 12:02 PM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


It took me decades but I finally found the most reliable, comfortable place with the best healthy, fresh non-wacky food, the best coffee and the best booze, and now I go there pretty much every day.

I call it, "home".
posted by sidereal at 12:10 PM on November 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Wildly inaccurate for my bit of Seattle.
posted by Fnarf at 1:05 PM on November 4, 2015


"The line stretched for 45 minutes behind him. But Quincy Jones had paid for his Cereal Milk soft-serve, and no way he was budging, no matter how many people he was holding up."

The Quincy Jones? (answer, no)
posted by atoxyl at 1:35 PM on November 4, 2015


I really wanted to follow up with Mrs. Pterodactyl's comment with romantic good husband gesture of going and getting cookies and even walked down their, but saw the line and left. Do I love my wife less than I hate people? Given our relationship, I'm not sure how I could separate the two.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:52 PM on November 4, 2015


Bulgaroktonos: "It told me to go to the new DC Momofuku Milk Bar which seems likely to be pretty wrong."

One might say so.


the pretentiousness in that article made me threw up in my mouth a little. I like working in the city, but I don't understand things like this. Gimme my $5 margarita at Capitol Lounge. Then again, I'm probably not the intended audience for that article, or those places (I mean, unless the site is right and there's nobody there then maybe I'll swing by and grab something for Mrs. Pterodactyl).

On preview: Bulgaroktonos, you did us a great service.
posted by numaner at 4:16 PM on November 4, 2015


Every place I recognize on here are (a) places that people go frequently and (b) likely don't check into much.
posted by caphector at 4:57 PM on November 4, 2015


Yeah, the results for me are just the places with the crustiest locals that don't use Foursquare or Instagram.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:40 PM on November 4, 2015


Does anyone actually knowingly use Foursquare?

I used to use it all the time until they fucking splintered off the checkin process into the Swarm app, which is where I'm assuming these people are getting their checkin data since last I checked you can't checkin anywhere on foursquare anymore it's just a shittier Yelp.
posted by dogwalker at 6:56 PM on November 4, 2015


I think there's still enough people who don't check in at places for this to not work as well as you'd think.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:06 PM on November 4, 2015


I think there's still enough people who don't check in at places for this to not work as well as you'd think.

I too am baffled Foursquare is still a thing (or is it now called Facebook places?). I'd use this to avoid places, but I have a feeling I would need to turn on active GP tracking or whatsit. I think I will just use my "Eh, a queue, it must be shit" rule.

It works for most things, except Asian restaurants for some reason.
posted by Mezentian at 4:14 AM on November 5, 2015


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