Travel back in time with Google Maps

June 09, 2016 by ivan

Did you know that Google created a time machine? Well, sort of. Until this gigantic company actually starts building one (which won’t surprise us at all), we will have to thank them for the virtual time machine they’ve created inside Google Maps.

Although the feature was introduced 2 years ago, Time Travel is something many of us missed in Google Maps. If you still haven’t discovered that little icon which allows you to see how a location looked like a few years ago, this is the right time to catch up.

This awesome feature is available at many locations which you can access in the Street View. Time Travel actually takes the entire database of images which Google has collected during the years. Some locations will allow you to slide the time across several periods and allow you to actually see how things change in the street you grew up.

You can compare what Google shows you with what you see when you look up the location on a stock image website like Yay Images.

Yay Images

If you don’t already know, Yay Images is a place where you can find cheap but high-quality royalty-free stock content. Basically, it is a collection of well-produced photos, vectors, and graphics created by over 18K photographers/creatives. Some of its alternatives are sites such as Depositphotos and Stock Unlimited.

But enough about that, let’s get back to traveling in time with Google Maps!

Unfortunately, not all locations will have the feature enabled. Since Google started taking photos in 2007, it is obvious that you can’t go beyond this point. It would be fun to see further back into the past, but we will have to leave this amusement for future generations who will learn about the year 2007 as a part of their history lesson in elementary school.

Time Travel can be quite fun:

  1. Open Google Maps in Street View
  2. In the upper-left hand portion of the screen, search for a clock icon
  3. Click on the icon and slide images
  4. Click on the image to open the Street View from that year

Depending on your chosen location, you will be able to see bigger or smaller changes during the years. Google showed these three examples of locations which changed quite a lot. If you have any other good example of noticeable changes in Street View, please share a location with us in comments.


2014 World Cup Stadium in Fortaleza, Brazil

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This stadium in Brazil was built back in 1973 and it supported almost 70,000 people during a match. During the years, the arena went through numerous changes which have made the stadium a better place for soccer matches. The last change took place in 2014 when this venue became home for FIFA World Cup. If you’re interested in matches played that year on the venue, you will have to visit Wikipedia pages, but if you want to see how stadium changed, it will be enough to open the location in Google Maps.


Freedom Tower in New York City

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Freedom Tower is also known as One World Trade Center and can be found in lower Manhattan in New York. This gorgeous building is the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex and is the tallest building in the western hemisphere. Foundations were set back in 2006 but the construction went on for years. This means that the construction can be tracked through Google Maps. All it takes is to open this Google Maps location, find the Time Travel icon after which you can track the construction process.


Italian roads in summer and winter

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Italian roads are home for some of the best sports supercars in the world. Ferraris and Lamborghinis are made for those roads but unfortunately not many of us got a chance to enjoy cornering these streets in super-machines. A larger number of us got a chance to explore the roads by an average vehicle yet even a greater number never got a chance to see an Italian road during the seasons. That’s where Google Maps can help – open Time Travel at this location and enjoy the same road during summer and winter.