Google Street View Is Now A Time Machine

Google Street View Is Now A Time MachineGoogle is rolling out a new feature for Maps Street View that will allow people to check out the progression of locations over time. Apparently, every time that Google has obtained a new picture of a location, it held onto the older ones. This has now allowed the company to introduce a “time machine” that lets people see how things looked as far back as 2006.

Devastated areas in particular were pointed out by Google and are perhaps the most amazing to see. For example, the Street View team captured images of Japan before the earthquake/tsunami occurred and then went back after things had settled down. As a result, you can now see how the natural disasters completely warped the entire landscape.

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Right now, it is only possible to look at images on the time scale of one month, despite there being some locations that are captured more often. In general, Street View actually captures locations far less often than once a month unless it is a major city or important area.

An algorithm was also put together so that if there are multiple photos taken in a month, Google Street View displays the best one on the timeline.

Now with Street View, you can see a landmark’s growth from the ground up, like the Freedom Tower in New York City or the 2014 World Cup Stadium in Fortaleza, Brazil. This new feature can also serve as a digital timeline of recent history, like the reconstruction after the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Onagawa, Japan. You can even experience different seasons and see what it would be like to cruise Italian roadways in both summer and winter. – Google

The feature is being implemented to the desktop Maps service today and users will now that the Time Machine is available if a clock icon is present on some of the images. When that icon is clicked, the timeline appears and users can go back and forth to see the changes that have occurred during the past eight years.

If you have anything to contribute, make sure to add it in the comments section!


Summary: Google has added a new timeline feature to Google Maps. Users can see how a location has changed over time. The timeline goes back as far as 2006.

image credit: google

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