Google Street View’s ‘time travel’ feature comes to smartphones

Google, which has sent its Street View cars out to take photos of streets around the world several times over, is now letting people use their phones to see what streets looked like years ago. — dpa

Google Street View’s “time travel” feature is being added to smartphones for the first time, allowing users to look back at historical photos of locations on their mobile for the first time.

Street View is the tech giant’s 360° photo-based map of the world with images captured from cameras mounted onto vehicles and even backpacks and can be found within Google Maps.

Currently, only users on the desktop version of Street View can access any available historical images of a location – for example a landmark or the street they live on, dating back to when Street View launched in 2007.

But this feature is now being extended to iOS and Android smartphones. The announcement comes as the Street View feature marks its 15th birthday.

“Street View is all about capturing the world as it changes, and it's also a powerful way to reminisce about the past,” Ethan Russell, senior director of product management for Google Maps, said.

“Here’s how it works: When you’re viewing Street View imagery of a place, tap anywhere on the photo to see information about the location,” Russell said.

“Then tap ‘See more dates’ to see the historical imagery we’ve published of that place, dating back to when Street View launched in 2007. Browse each of the images to see a digital time capsule that shows how a place has changed.”

As part of the birthday celebrations, Google also revealed the most searched for locations on Street View in the UK, with Big Ben topping the list ahead of Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium and Buckingham Palace.

Stonehenge and the British Museum completed the top five, with London Bridge, the Folkestone White Horse, the London Eye, the University of Oxford and Wembley stadium also making the top 10. – dpa

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