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Digital Life

Go back in time with the new Google Street View

Published on Apr 23, 2014 2:52 PM

You can now go back in time to see how a place has changed over the years using a new Street View feature in Google Maps.

For instance, you can track the construction of local landmarks such as the Marina Bay Sands Resort, or view the reconstruction of Onagawa, Japan after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. As the images are taken at different times of the year, this time capsule-like feature also lets you see how places look in summer and in winter.

Places with images from the past will have a small clock icon in the upper left-hand corner in Street View. Clicking on the icon brings up a slider that lets you move through time. Depending on the location, the interval between images varies from a few months to a year. Google says this feature is available for over 50 countries with the earliest images dating from 2007.

This is not the first time that Google has published such images from the past. Google Earth has a similar historical imagery feature, but with satellite images. A better example is Google’s Memories for the Future website, which showed Street View images from parts of Japan affected by the Tohoku earthquake. In fact, that website was the inspiration for the new feature, according to Mr Keiichi Kawai, who leads Google’s Street View efforts.


The changing Singapore skyline as seen using Google's new Street View feature.