Here's how to step into the past with Google Street View

The Street View logo with Google Maps in the background

Most people know about the Street View feature on Google Maps but were you aware that tucked away is the option to view older images captured at each spot? With Google sending its Street View cars around various countries for over a decade, the timeline feature is great for looking back at how your area used to look.

Accessing the feature is really simple, just head to Google Maps and drop the Street View pegman on the area you want to look at.

The Street View man

In the top left of Street View, you should see a black box with the name of the street, at the bottom you will see a clock symbol – press this.

The button to view Street View history

You should now see a timeline of photos that Google has snapped as well as a preview of the image, press the image and it will appear in the main Street View viewer.

The Street View timeline previewer

While it’s nice to see just how much has changed in the last 12 or so years, this functionality will be very interesting to use in 50 or 100 years after landscapes have a chance to change more radically. If you want to see a location 100 years ago, the best you can get is a few photographs or possibly a video; these can be a little disorienting while trying to place buildings in relation to what’s there now. With Street View’s archive looking back into the past is a lot more immersive.

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