Even as Google continues expanding its Mapsâ€”going as far as documenting polar bear migrationsâ€”the company has to regularly dispatch theirÂ Street View cars to places they’ve already been: cities change, and it takes another lap to keep Maps up to date.Â That meansÂ major metropolisesâ€”Singapore, New Yorkâ€”have been updated as much as eight or nine times since Google’s toolÂ first launched. Now, you can finally take a look at all those past snapshots.
Starting this morning, when you check out Google Maps, you’ll see an inconspicuous clock in the corner of your screen: click it, and you’ll be able to toggle between past versions of Maps, then watch the resultsÂ ofÂ urban gentrification or economic collapse, natural disasters or fiscal fortune,Â unfurl before your eyes. (Fun fun fun!)
The project is a different way of instantly looking at a city or town’s evolution:Â it’s one thing to hear about the rise of the Williamsburg waterfront or Freedom Tower, or read about the havoc of a post-Sandy New Jersey, but it’s another to see an instant, on-demand before-and-after.
Although that won’t necessarily be an option uniformly available to everyone. Street View, as seamless as it feels, consists of snapshots; a van takes a 360-degree photoÂ every so many feet.Â Vinay Shet, Google Street View product manager,Â told me that adding snapshots of what each location looked like in the pastÂ required doubling the total amount of photo stills stored on Mapsâ€”a huge overhaul.Â But forÂ every area with seven snapshots, there are many more remote spots where Google’s vansÂ haveÂ only made one sweep. If you’re looking to relive the construction of your personal shed in the Alaskan wilderness, you’re probably out of luck.
Then again, even for urbanites, the time-tourism in foreign localesÂ looks like the best part. (There’s even a Doc Brown that stands in for the Street View peg-limbedÂ dude.)Â Here’s a look, in GIF form.
New York’s Freedom Tower
Brazil’s World Cup Stadium
Changing Seasons In Norway
Earthquake Damage In Christchurch
from Popular Science http://ift.tt/1tBXEpL