How To Go Back In Time On Google Earth And Google Maps

Time travel has always been a hot topic of debate and Hollywood has made most out of it by producing several blockbuster movies on this subject. But, going back in time and fixing things in the past is only possible in movies and not in real life. However, with the help of  Google Earth and Google Maps, you can virtually go back in time. And get a timelapse experience to see how a particular place has changed over the years.

Change Years In Google Earth And Maps

To go back in time on Google Earth you need to download Google Earth Pro for desktop. As it is not possible to change years in the mobile app and on the Google Earth online tool. The same goes for Google Maps as well, you can not use the Google Maps mobile app for timelapse.

Go Back In Time On Google Earth

1. Launch Google Earth Pro on your computer. Now search for the place or city you want to view in timelapse.

Google Earth Pro

For better viewing experience zoom into the map using the mouse wheel or the magnifying tool on the right side of the screen.

2. Now from the toolbar, at the top click on View and select Historical Imagery to view historical satellite images of earth.

Historical imagery

3. As you do that, a slider will appear at the top left corner of the map. Now you can move this slider backwards to move back in the time. As you move the slider the map will load accordingly and will show you the satellite image of that particular time period.

Go back in time on Google Earth

4. To go to a particular date and time in the past you can click on the tool icon on the slider. A new window will open, here change the date and time and then tap on OK.

go back to a particular date and time

From the same window, you can also change the display time according to your time zone.

5. Now once you are done and want to come out of Historical Imagery, just click on the X icon on the slider.

escape historical imagery

Note: You can not go further back in time on the Google Earth than the time mentioned on the slider (1945 in this case). This time is not the same for all places as it depends upon the availability of historical satellite images of that particular place.

Timelapse On Google Maps

On Google Maps there is no such feature as Historical Imagery where we see images taken from the satellite over course of time. On the contrary, the timelapse on Google Maps is possible due to its street view feature. Where the images are taken from Google’s camera-mounted cars running down the streets in every corner of the world. This feature won’t take you much back in time because Street view was first launched in 2007. However, you can still try it out by following the below steps.

1. Open Google Maps on your browser on the computer. Now search a place from the search bar at the top left corner and click on it.

search for place on google maps

2. Next, drag and drop the street view man from the bottom right of the screen to a particular point on the map.

enable street view mode

Most probably with this, the street view will be enabled unless you are exploring some abandoned corners of the world.

3. On the street view screen, you will see an address tab at the top left corner. From here you can click on the down arrow to go back in time.

Change dates in Google maps

4. Now, Move the slider and stop it on one particular time period to see how the street used to look at that time. Click on the magnifying glass icon to view the street on full-screen mode.

timelapse in google maps

5. To exit the Street View mode click on the X icon on the top right side of the screen.

exit street view mode

Note: This feature is still not available in most parts of the world. But, it works perfectly wherever it is available.


So how was your journey back in time? Awesome, isn’t it? We should be thankful to Google for inventing such cool tools that can stimulate the time travel experience. We hope Google will keep introducing such tools in the future to educate us more about our past and history. Do tell us in the comments about the places you visited in the timelapse mode and what changes you noticed in those places over time.


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