Home > Oddities, Technology > The New Time Machine

The New Time Machine

If you have ever used Google’s Street View, which shows you 360 degree views taken along just about every major road in America, many side streets, and many streets around the world, they have added a new function on the latest Google Maps: time travel.

Go into street view at your favorite major intersection.  Look in the top left corner of the display for something that looks like a clock and click on it.  You will be shown a UI that will let you select any of the past pictures taken at that same spot and angle.

So, for instance, you can go to 202 West Rockrimmon Blvd, Colorado Springs and click on street view.  I used to live in this complex.  The building at this address burned down some years ago and had to be replaced.  The latest picture, which is the current default, shows the building in 2011.  If you click on the clock dingus, however, you can see three pictures from different months in 2009, the first two showing a fenced-off hole in the ground (sometime after the fire and demolition) and the third showing the new building under construction.

Leave it to Google to find a reason to need even more disk server farms, but with a little thought, you can probably think of a few ways this functionality could be useful (“I can assure my fellow homeowners that I did not, in fact, have a pink flamingo in my yard in June of 2010 and here is photographic proof from a disinterested party”).  Some really clever people are going to think up great and –  potentially – profitable uses for this technology.  Going farther down the road – so to speak – today’s children are going to be able to show their own children exactly what the old neighborhood looked like when they were young.  We will all be able to look back and remind ourselves what was in the store next to the pizza place in 2009.  It will be a boon to those doing historical research.


Categories: Oddities, Technology
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