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Google's new Timelapse satellite images show Earth in flux

Google sorts through 3 quadrillion pixels to give us a look at time unfolding everywhere from San Francisco to Antarctica.

Bolivia's Nuflo de Chavez over time.

Google

The view of the Tibetan river is wiggly, the one of the Antarctic glacier subtle. The look at Bolivia's Nuflo de Chavez province is downright kaleidoscopic.

Welcome to the latest enhancement to Google Earth Timelapse, satellite images of our planet showing changes over time, which Google calls its largest update yet. Tuesday's update adds four more years of imagery and petabytes of data for a "sharper view of the Earth" from 1984 to 2016, the company said. As with improvements to Google Maps and Google Earth in June, the new Timelapse images are meant to show truer colors and fewer "distracting artifacts."

Google worked from more than 5 million images -- or as the data-intensive company put it, about 3 quadrillion pixels -- including fresh ones from the new Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2 satellites. From the 33 resulting 3.95-terabyte images of the entire planet, it whipped up millions of overlapping, multiresolution video tiles.

Presto! They did all the work. You can just sit back and watch time unfold. (There's even a YouTube playlist for that.)