How to time travel with Google Maps

Google added a time machine feature to Street View, which lets you take a virtual trip down memory lane to see how locations have changed over the years.

Matt Elliott Senior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
Expertise Laptops, desktops, all-in-one PCs, streaming devices, streaming platforms
Matt Elliott
2 min read

Google last month introduced a time machine feature to Street View on Google Maps for the desktop, letting you choose a past date for locations where Google's Street View van has passed by more than once.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

For a location where there is only a single set of Street View imagery, you'll see the month and year the image was taken beneath the address. For my small city in New Hampshire, for example, I now know that the Street View van came through in August 2011.

If I head south to Boston, however, I'll encounter the new Street View time machine. I plugged in Fenway Park, and next to the banner with the date of when the current image was captured, there is a small clock icon with "New" written in red text. Clicking on this banner opens a small window with a slider of dates that stretch back to 2007. As I select different dates, I can preview the image for each date in this small window, and by clicking on the preview window, I can open a past date in Street View. I can then walk the streets in Street View in the past.

While I was able to see Fenway in September 2007 -- just before the Red Sox's second World Series championship -- I was unable to go back any further to the dark days of The Curse and chants of 1918. If you'd like to see how your house or favorite landmarks have changed over the past seven years or so, however, Google Maps provides a fun way to take a trip down memory lane.

(Via Here's the Thing)