Google Street View has been the best tool to travel around the world. A simple but fun update on Google Street View allows you to travel back in time.
Google Street View has become one of the best tools to travel around the world in eighty seconds. But did you know that you can also go back to the past to see historical imagery on Google Street View? Old Street View images have been available on Google Maps for the desktop for many years. The feature has also been introduced on the Google Maps apps for iOS and Android. Let’s see how you can travel to the past and see how your neighborhood looked more than a decade back.
How to Use Historical Street View Imagery on Google Maps
Historical Street View imagery has been available on Google Maps for the desktop for some time. The timeline of past events has been recreated with the help of historical imagery from past Street View collections dating back to 2007.
- Open Google Maps in your browser.
- Enter a precise address in the search field or click a zoom marker and locate the place you want to explore.
- Drag Pegman to the location on the map and drop it on a blue line to open Street View for the spot on the map.
- Select See more dates on the overlaid box on the top-left of the Street View to open a timeline of Street Views from the past. ;
- Select a thumbnail on the timeline to see the historical Street View images from that year.
- Move around by hovering your cursor in the direction you want to go. The cursor turns into a directional arrow.
- Select the X on the top-right of the Street View to close it. Alternatively, you can use the arrow on the overlaid box to go back to the present time.
Do remember that Google is still building this collection. So, along with Street View, the historical images may not be available everywhere yet.
How to See Historical Google Street View on iOS and Android
You can view historical Street View images going back to 2007 provided Google had recorded them in the past. The process to see Google Street View images is the same in the Google Map app for Android and iOS. The screenshots below are from the Google Map app on iOS.
- Open the Google Maps app on iOS or Android.
- Tap Layers > Street View. Then, close the panel with a tap on the X.
- Enter the location or a precise address in the search field and zoom into the street-level view of the place you want to explore.
- Tap on any blue line.
- In the Street View mode, select See more dates to open a timeline carousel of street view imagery.
- Select the thumbnail in the carousel closest to the historical period you want to see the images for.
- Look around the Street View with the directional arrows on the screen and compare the imagery across the dates.
- Tap on X to exit the historical street view and arrive back to the current view.
Again, do remember that not all places may have been covered by Google’s mapping team even though Street View has existed for 15 years and has a catalog of billions of images.
How to Use Google Earth for Viewing Historical Images
Google Earth had historical imagery before the feature was adopted on Google Maps. These aren’t Street View images, but the images can take you further back than the collections on Google Maps which start from 2007.
- Launch the Google Earth Pro app on your desktop.
- Enter a location in the Search field.
- Click on View > Historical Imagery or select the Clock icon on the toolbar.
- Use the Time slider to go back in time and view the historical imagery.
- Zoom in and out of the view to see how a place has changed over time.
The Fun in Going Back in Time With Street View
It’s the closest thing to time travel we are going to get – to go back until 2007, at least. One of the nice things is that you can use Street View to see a place change across different seasons and during the night. If there’s a Street View near your home, it can also be a wonderful slice of nostalgia.
Street View turned 15 in 2022. As a Google blog post says, there are now over 220 billion Street View images from over 100 countries and territories. So, it gives you so many ways to explore and see how our world is changing in bad ways and good.