While the real-life Delorean still can’t go back to the future, Google’s Street View vehicles can now transport us to the past.
Historical images captured by the cars have been assembled in a tool that shows how places have changed over time.
The feature was previously only available on the desktop version of Google Maps, but is now available on smartphones.
“Street View is all about capturing the world as it changes, and it’s also a powerful way to reminisce about the past,” said Ethan Russell, senior director of product management for Google Maps, in a blogpost.
“Starting today on Android and iOS globally, it’s now easier than ever to travel back in time right from your phone.”
Here’s how to use the tool:
- Open Google Maps on your smartphone
- Enter Street View.
- Tap anywhere on the image to find information about the place.
- Select “see more dates” and scroll through historical imagery of the location dating back to 2007. City streets could offer more than a dozen dates, while remote locations will have more limited options.
- Browse through the photos to see a digital time capsule that shows how the place has changed.
The feature was launched to mark the 15th anniversary of Street View.
Joining the celebrations are an upgraded mapping camera and the new Street View Studio, which provides tools for quickly publishing 360-degree image sequences in bulk.
Happy birthday, Street View: here’s to your next 15 years of exploration, crimefighting, and stalking.