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  1. ITV Report

'Time travel' feature added to Google's Street View

Google's Street View showing the new clock icon enabling users to click and move back over time to see changes. Photo: Google

Internet giant Google has upgraded its Street View feature which will allow users to see how places used to look since the service was launched in 2007. A clock icon on the screen will allow users to go back in time to any road or street almost anywhere in the world.

The icon will display a scroll bar which users can use to go back over time to see changes to buildings, new construction as well as seasonal changes.

Google Street View product manager Vinay Shet said in a post on the official Google blog, users could now experience being "like Doc Brown" - a reference to the time machine inventor in the 1980's movie Back to The Future.

Starting today, you can travel to the past to see how a place has changed over the years by exploring Street View imagery in Google Maps for desktop. You can see a landmark's growth from the ground up, like the Freedom Tower in New York city or experience different seasons and see what it would be like to cruise Italian roadways in both summer and winter.

Street View has been used in the main as a way of visualising directions to help users find and identify locations.

It has also been used by "armchair explorers" who use the feature to explore different parts of the world. In response Google has added tourism and beauty hotspot features and is hoping this new feature will attract more users.

Google recently announced that it was to begin using a new algorithm that can read house numbers in images of the service and correlate these to real addresses in order to improve the accuracy of address searches.