Google Maps update adds ‘cool’ desktop functionality to mobile apps

Google Maps is arguably one of the most important apps on your phone thanks to all its capabilities. Need to get from one city to another using the fastest route? Google Maps will do this for you. Need to find accommodation? A place to enjoy a meal? Get gasoline? Visiting a famous monument? These are all things Google Maps can help find for you.

Tom’s Guide reports that a feature found on the desktop version of Google Maps is coming to the mobile version. It’s a pretty cool feature based on Google Street View. The latter is now 15 years old and has a library of more than 220 billion images from more than 100 countries and territories. And because Google keeps all the images created for Street View, it can create a sort of time machine showing you images of a location over the years starting in 2007.
On the desktop version of Google Maps, users were able to observe the creation of structures over time. This feature has been exclusive to Google Maps on desktop since 2014. As of yesterday, Google started updating this Street View “Time Machine” feature to the Android and iOS versions of Google Maps.

To see if it now works on your phone, go to Street View and open any location. Tap the photo and if you have the latest version of Google Maps installed, you will see more location information as well as an option to See more appointments.

Google is also looking to expand its Street View photo collection with a new Street View camera that will take photos in places where the infamous Street View cars can’t fit. Although the new cameras are the size of a small cat, they have the same resolution, power and processing capabilities as the cameras used on Google’s Street View vehicles. The new cameras are modular and can accommodate new components such as a LiDAR sensor that can help record lane markings and potholes.

Years before Google could move its “Time Machine” to Google Maps on mobile phones, The Wall Street Journal created a video showing the feature in use. Check it out below.

Casey J. Nelson