Google Street View now lets you “time travel” on your phone. here’s how

While the real Delorean still can’t go back to the future, Google’s Street View vehicles can now transport us to the past.

Historic images captured by the cars have been collected into a tool that shows how places have changed over time.

The feature was previously only available on the desktop version of Google Maps, but is now available on smartphones.

“Street View is all about capturing the world as it changes, and it’s also a powerful way to reminisce about the past,” said Ethan Russell, senior director of product management for Google Maps, in a blog post

“Starting today on Android and iOS worldwide, it’s now easier than ever to travel back in time right from your phone.”

How to use the tool:

  1. Open Google Maps on your smartphone
  2. Go to Street View
  3. Tap anywhere on the image to find information about the place.
  4. Select ‘see more dates’ and browse historical images of the location dating back to 2007. City streets can offer more than a dozen dates, while remote locations have more limited options.
  5. Scroll through the photos to see a digital time capsule that shows how the place has changed.

The feature was launched in celebration of Street View’s 15th anniversary.

Joining the celebrations are an improved map camera and the new Studio with street viewwhich provides tools for quickly mass publishing 360-degree image sequences.

The new customizable camera weighs less than 15 pounds and can be mounted on any vehicle with a roof rack and controlled directly from a mobile device