Washington, Apr 24: After a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck the coast of Japan three years ago, which resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and billions of dollars in damage, Google has set out to preserve imagery it had captured prior to the disaster, including original Street View recordings that became an unintended time capsule.
The company made a one-off site called Memories for the Future that let viewers see certain areas before and after the devastation, the Verge reported.
It was an unusual site considering Google’s standard operating procedure: a feverish pace of updates that erased the old with the new and never looked back.
Google’s changing that now with a feature that lets you step back in time to earlier versions of its Street View data, going back to 2006.
Since then, each time the company updated Street View data, it also quietly kept the older versions. And in numerous cases, skipping between them is the difference between desolation and a sprawling metropolis, or – like in Japan’s case – vice versa.
The feature, which Google is rolling out to the web version of Maps today, generally stays out of the way unless you want to go back in time.
If you’re viewing a location with earlier recorded images, there’s now an hourglass and a slider in the top left of the screen that shows you the month and year.
Dial it back and it sweeps to that copy stored on Google’s servers, almost as if you were clicking on a location just up the road. (ANI)