Google’s Street View cars buzz up and down the world’s roadways rather frequently. Usually, when Google gets new data from its road-going cameras, it takes the old imagery down. There is value in those old Street View images, though, and today, Google announced it will be putting them all online for virtual explorers to dig through.
The feature hasn’t rolled out to many accounts yet, but it looks like a small, draggable window will be added to the Street View interface. Just move the time slider around and you’ll be able to jump through past images. Granted, Street View has only been around for a few years, so the archives only go back to 2007. A few of the events Google suggests browsing through are the building of One World Trade Center and the destruction and rebuilding of Onagawa, Japan after the 2011 earthquake. Besides being really cool, the move will save Google from having to choose a canonical Street View image for every location. If the current image is blacked-out or wrong in some way, you can just click back to the previous one.
Go Back in time with street view (Video by google map)
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This isn’t the first time Google’s Geo team has fired up the DeLorean — Google Earth has been able to browse historical satellite imagery for some time. Viewing things from a ground-level point of view puts things in an entirely new perspective, though.
Historical Street View should be rolling out to all accounts shortly.