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Time Travel with Google Street View

3rd July 2022

Jacob Woolcock


Did you know you can use Street View in Google Maps to travel back in time? Yes, with the awesome Historical Street View feature you can now revisit locations and addresses from any time in the last 15 years to see how they’ve changed over time.

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Did you know you can now go back in time using Google Street View on your iPhone and iPad to see how your local area has changed over the years? Here’s how. So, I’m going to open up Google Maps, and I’ve browsed to a part of London called King’s Cross, where a lot of building work has been happening recently. In fact, they’re building Google’s new UK headquarters, and it’s one of the longest buildings I’ve ever seen. This building’s been going on for many years, and we’re going to use Google Street View to see how much has changed over that time.

So, first of all, we’re going to drop a pin in the location we want to explore, simply by tapping and holding the map. And when you do this, a little info panel will slide up on your screen. From here, tap to go into Street View as normal. Then, when you’re here, as well as panning around and looking at a 360 photograph of that space, you can then choose to go back in time and view other occasions when Street View photographs were captured. The amount you’ll see will depend on how often this area has been covered on Street View.

So, to access this feature, you want to have a look for the street name and the date the photograph you’re currently viewing was taken. This one was taken one year ago, and there, besides it, a little button asks if you’d like to see more dates. And when you go onto here, you get a library of all of the previous Google imagery that’s been saved. And, as quickly as this, you can tap and jump between them, and view different months or different years of this particular landscape.

And one of my favourite things is, because it’s a 360 image, if I reposition my view, so for example, if I turn to look at King’s Cross Station, then as I go backwards and forward through time, the view will remain centred on that location, and it will show me what’s changed around.

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Well, Jacob, that’s great if you live in a big city, but what about me in my local town or village?” Well, the good news is, it will work for you as well, because this pulls in all of the Street View data from the last 15 years. So, as long as your area or your streets have more than one picture taken, you can use Time Machine mode.

Here’s a village called Castle Cary near Somerset, and if I zoom in, there’s only two pictures available, but you can see how the village has changed over the last 10 years. Have an explore of Google Street View, and if you find anywhere that’s changed dramatically over the last few years, let me know in the comments down below. I’d love to go and explore it as well. And don’t forget, you can subscribe for hundreds more iPhone and iPad Quick Tip videos down below on my channel. I’ll see you next time.

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