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Google Maps Feature Lets Users Look Back In Time

by Brandon Russell | April 23, 2014April 23, 2014 7:00 pm PDT

There’s something fascinating about looking at older pictures, like peering through a lens at a bygone era. But what about looking at the past through Google Maps? That’s apparently now a thing. It’s not quite as captivating as an old black and white photo, but remarkable in that it shows just how quickly the landscape around us changes.

Google has been quietly keeping a stash of old Maps imagery since 2007, and now lets Street View users go back in time to see how an area has changed. That’s not quite as stunning as, say, seeing an image from the 1920s compared to today, but Google’s imagery creates a neat little portal that shows building’s erecting in mere seconds, instead of years. One World Trade Center in New York, for example, or the 2014 World Cup Stadium in Fortaleza, Brazil.

The next time you’re perusing Street View, anytime you see a little clock in the upper left corner you’ll be able to see how that location has evolved over the years. Maybe it’s your favorite neighborhood street corner, or a big skyscraper that went up down the street. Seven years worth of pictures in an instant. Google Street View cars aren’t quite the DeLorean time machines from Back to the Future, but it’s neat to see the industry around us suddenly erupt from the ground, like a plant. Nothing there one minute, a building there the next.

In addition to buildings in New York and World Cup stadiums in Brazil, Google’s imagery also shows the recovery efforts in Onagawa, Japan, and the different seasons experienced by Italian roadways.

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Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...


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