Google Maps Street View gains a new time travel feature going back to 2007

Google Maps
Google Maps (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Google has announced a new time travel feature for Google Maps and Street View.
  • People can go all the way back to Street View's first images for specific locations.

Google is celebrating 15 years of Street View by announcing a time travel feature of sorts, allowing people to scroll back and see how things looked at various points between now and 2007.

Google announced the change via blog post, saying that it's now "easier than ever to travel back in time right from your phone."

When you're viewing Street View imagery of a place, tap anywhere on the photo to see information about the location. Then tap "See more dates" to see the historical imagery we've published of that place, dating back to when Street View launched in 2007. Browse each of the images to see a digital time capsule that shows how a place has changed — like how the Vessel in New York City's Hudson Yards grew from the ground up.

Google also announced a new Street View camera that will allow it to capture more Street View imagery than ever before. It can be fitted to any car and weighs just 15 pounds, making it more portable than ever before. Google says we can expect it to be used in areas that would normally go unmapped, including the Amazon jungle.

Finally, a bit of fun. Google says that to celebrate the 15-year anniversary of Street View's launch, we can all set a Street View car as our mapping icon!

In celebration of Street View's birthday, you'll have the opportunity to make your navigation icon a celebratory Street View car – just tap the chevron when you're in driving navigation. And on desktop, our beloved Pegman – who you can pick up and drop anywhere in Maps to see Street View – will be dressed up in a birthday hat and balloons for the celebration.

Google Maps is still one of the best iPhone navigation apps around — and being able to drive around in a Street View car makes it even better!

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.