How to Time Travel Through Places With Google Street View

Bogdan Bele

Google Maps Street View has introduced a cool new feature, one which allows you to travel through time (virtually, of course). Basically, you’re able to check out available imagery of a place at various moments in time. The feature is quite easy to use, as you’ll see in a moment.

Google Maps Time Machine

How Does It Work?

Well, Google has gathered a lot of Street View imagery of great places, some of it as old as 2007, so it made sense for the company to use old imagery in an interesting way, even if new images are captured all the time.

The feature is similar to a time capsule, as it allows the user to see how a place has evolved over the years.

In the case of places where a lot of construction has been done in the past few years, you can enjoy some spectacular views. Also, where a disaster has struck, you can see how the area has been restored and the way things have gone back to normal.

The feature is available for a few places at the moment (you’ll find out about some interesting ones below) but, knowing Google, it will probably be developed quite a bit in the coming months. I expect to be one of the most interesting Google Maps features.

Using the new feature really couldn’t be easier. When you’re in Street View, if old imagery of the place you’re currently visiting is available, you’ll see a clock icon on the top left corner of the screen, which you can click.

Google Maps Time Machine icon

Once you do, you’ll be shown a slider which allows you to scroll through the various views of that particular place, over the years. You’ll see a snapshot of the area, but if you click it, the large view will be switched to the one in that particular moment in time.

It’s really that easy.

Google Maps Time Machine scroll

You’re now officially a Google Maps Street View time traveler!

Great Places to Time Travel Through

In order to get you started, I’ve picked some interesting places you can time travel through, with the new feature.

Arena Castelão, Brazil

With the football World Cup around the corner, how about witnessing the construction of one of the stadiums hosting it? You can do so with the spectacular views Google has saved for you of the Arena Castelão, in Fortaleza, Brazil. The stadium will host matches in the groups, round of 16, as well as a quarter-final.

The latest view is from February 2012 and the first one from September 2013, but the difference is quite visible, as you can see.

Google Maps Time Machine stadium

Champs-Élysées, Paris

One of the world most beautiful boulevards, the Champs-Élysées in Paris is proof that some things don’t change a lot over time. Images are available ever since 2008, but the place looks just as busy and beautiful as always in all of them.

Champs Elysees

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Antoni Gaudi’s masterpiece is still a very long way from being finished. Construction has started in 1882 and estimates say that it could be finished in 2026, on the centenary of Gaudi’s death.

It’s impossible to say if that will happen, but you can see how work on La Sagrada Familia has progressed in the last few years, since 2008.

Conclusion

A great Google Maps feature, one that I’ll play with a lot in the future, I’m sure, as more views will become available. Have you found some even more interesting places to time travel in? Let us know in a comment!

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Bogdan Bele

Written By

Bogdan Bele

A tech writer with a passion for Android. When you don't find me playing with various devices (which I do most of the time), I enjoy music and a good book.