Google Street View's Time Travel Function Lets You Browse a Location's History Going Back Decades

Google Street View is the closest humans can get to instant transportation. With the click of a mouse, users can hop from the mountains of the Swiss Alps to the halls of the Guggenheim Museum in the span of a few seconds. The online tool is also the closest thing we have to a time machine. That’s because Google Street View allows users to view location-specific imagery going back decades. Google’s massive database of street-level photography doubles as a historical archive. To take advantage of it, search the address of the place you wish to explore on Google Maps. Dragging the yellow figure out of the bottom right-hand corner, place it on the map and it will launch Street View. As you drag the icon, areas with Street View data will be highlighted in blue. If Google has older images in its archive, you’ll see a clock symbol next to the date the photographs were taken. Clicking on it lets you jump through the Street View history of that spot. Browsing Google Street View's archives is a fun way to see how places have changed over time. Though the function works best with well-trafficked addresses with a lot of data, you can try using it to travel back in time in your current town. Google's 360° cameras may have paid a visit to your home before you lived there. You can also search for a previous place of residency and see if your younger self makes an appearance.