[caption id="attachment_83038" align="aligncenter" width="250"] This illustration provided by Google highlights a new Google Maps Street View snapshots feature, which allow users to see what specific neighborhoods and landmarks looked like at different periods during the past seven years that Google Inc. has been dispatching camera-toting cars to take pictures for its maps. This image shows what the under construction One World Trade Center in New York looked like in April 2009, left, and August 2013, right. (AP Photo/Google)[/caption]It used to be that Google Map viewers could only see the most recent images captured by the Google Street View cars whose mission is to record current data on Google Maps. But now Google Street View is enabling users to see images that first appeared as long as 7 years ago, thanks to a new digital time capsule feature. But only Google Maps desktop version carries this unique feature, allowing viewers to scroll back through time in order to see Street View images that were captured as far back as 2007.
One of the most entertaining activities that this new Google Street View digital time capsule feature offers is the ability to see well recognized buildings and world famous landmarks, such as the new Freedom Tower in New York City, in the process of being constructed. The feature also comes in handy, according to officials at Google Street View, for viewing a recent historical digital timeline of an event, such as the progress being made in the clean up and reconstruction operation occurring in Japan since the devastating tsunami hit that island in 2011. And if the viewer is tired of the weather happening at their current location, Google Street View's new digital time capsule feature enables a quick look at locations around the world as they pass through the different seasons of the year.
Anyone who wants to travel back in time can easily access the older images captured on Google Street View. Clicking onto a tiny clock icon that appears on the page enables the user to begin viewing older images. The availability of historical images from major metropolitan areas in various parts of the world are much more abundant, however, than images taken in smaller, less populated and more rural regions of the globe.