Google Street View takes you back in time

Summary:See how much a few years--and the development, neglect, and natural disasters within--can change your favorite places.

Google already has images of the world from just about every angle. Now it's letting users go back in time to see how streets, buildings and landmarks have changed over the years. 

The new "historical" Street View images more than doubles the imagery now available on Google Maps, according to the company. Users can type in an address and if they see a clock icon in the upper left-hand portion of a Street View image, they can click on it and move the slider through time. 

The feature wasn't yet available for me. But a Google spokeswoman told me it will be rolling out over the next 24 hours and should be available to everyone very soon. 

There are limits to Google's time machine. The historical imagery collected from past Street View collection only dates back to 2007. Still, the digital time capsule has captured some pretty stunning before and after shots. For instance, it shows the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and the devastation of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan as well as the reconstruction. Users can see the construction of the Freedom Tower in New York City and the World Cup stadium in Brazil

Here's a GIF and a few images showing the new Street View feature. The GIF shows construction of the Soumaya Museum in Mexico. 

Google-GIF-Soumaya Museum Mexico.gif

The next photo shows the destruction from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. 
Google-Tohoku Earthquake Tsunami Destruction Japan.png
And finally, an image of a street before and after Hurricane Sandy.

Google-Sandy Still.png

Thumbnail image: Google Street View of Japan 


This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter.

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.