googlestreetview111
Google’s new time machine tool lets you see how the 2011 Japan earthquake affected cities like Onagawa. Photos via Google.

googlemaps23If you want to take a trip down memory lane, Google’s new Street View feature is something to check out.

Google today debuted a fun tool that lets users see the growth — or destruction — of buildings around the world since 2007. For example, you can see a digital timeline of the Freedom Tower’s construction, or the deterioration of Onagawa, Japan after the horrible 2011 earthquake and tsunami. You’ll also be able to see how locations change with different seasons.

To access the new feature, click on the clock icon in the upper left-hand portion of certain Street View images. From there, you can move the slider through time and click the thumbnails to explore places as they looked in the past.

The Wall Street Journal notes that the tool will work in every location where Street View has recorded imagery. Cities will have more “time slices,” to go through, while other locations will have two or three images from the past.

The feature is rolling out around the world to desktop users today, though it’s not live for me yet. I’m looking forward to using this tool in the future, specifically to see how Seattle’s South Lake Union area changes once Amazon is done building out its massive campus.

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