Thanks to Google Maps and Street View, you no longer have to hold out for that Delorean to travel back in time. Since its introduction back in 2007, Google Street View provided users virtual tours of many areas around the globe. Google’s camera-equipped vehicles traversed the globe, capturing the images used in the virtual maps.
Now, Google is taking it a step further with a free visual timeline of the streets, which users can view at different locations on the map. From the Street View digital mapping, users can see how different landmarks have changed over the years in Google Maps for the desktop. The historical images were collected from Street View maps that date back to 2007. The photos are used to create the timeline for your viewing pleasure.
Here’s how to do it: From Google Maps, enter in a location and enter Street View. If you see a clock icon in the upper left corner, click on the icon to reveal a slider that shows images of that site, dating as far back as 2007. Note: It appears that the new feature is not yet available in all areas. And though seven years isn’t much of a trip, there are still drastic changes, such as the construction of the Freedom Tower.
Google says that each street should have at least one instance of a previous time period. More densely populated areas get coverage.
The timeline doubles the amount of images available in Street View, which is a product of 5 million miles of travel in 50 countries. Google will continue updating street images, adding to the timeline for the years to come. As time progresses, older images will become truly vintage. It will be a great experience for future generations unless they finally invent an actual time travel. But, until then, there’s Google Street View.