Google Street Views has to be one of the coolest applications on the Internet. With just a few mouseclicks and keystrokes, you can visit most any address. You can look at your house, at a street in London, or one in Mumbai. I used Google Street Views a lot when looking for a new home. I “investigated” properties and neighborhoods online before traveling to each house. I crossed several properties off my list after virtually checking out the neighborhoods. That saved a lot of time and gasoline. You probably can find dozens of other uses for Google Street Views.
Google’s virtual maps have always been limited to the most recent images transmitted by its camera-equipped vehicles. If the Google vehicle captured a new image of a location, it always replaced the older version that previously had been online. However, that is now changing. All the Street View images taken over the last seven years will soon be viewable as part of a new feature that allows users to see how places have changed since Google began photographing the globe.
The new Google Street View Archives are becoming available today. However, it will require several weeks before all the archived photos are transfered online and become available. You can check any location now but it may or may not show earlier versions. I just checked my house and the older views are not yet available. However, the Google Blog does show a number of well-known locations that already have older photos available.
You, too, can be a time traveler, even without Doc Brown’s DeLorean. However, the pictures only go back seven years. Even then, not everything was photographed seven years ago. Unfortunately, you won’t see great-granddad’s farm as it existed in the 1890s.
You can learn more in the Google Blog at http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2014/04/go-back-in-time-with-street-view.html.