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culture

Google Street View Reveals Toronto’s Past

New feature will let you track changes around the world and here at home.

Thanks to a new feature from Google Street View, users will soon be able to explore images showing how Toronto has changed since 2007. Within the next 24 hours, Google will be giving users access to its photo archives, which date back to Street View’s original launch seven years ago.

The new feature took off in the U.S. this morning, and you’ll know it’s arrived here when a clock icon appears in the upper-left corner of the Street View scene. Clicking on that icon will allow you to toggle through archived, 360-degree photographs.

A Google spokesperson noted that it will be especially interesting to look at how areas that have experienced major development over the past few years—like Lake Shore Boulevard and Fleet Street, for example—have transformed during this time.

The new feature is part of an effort by Google to create a “digital mirror” of the world. Although most locations will have only one archived photo right now, as the years pass, the archived views will become digital time capsules for the 55 countries that Street View currently photographs.

It will be an easy and accessible kind of virtual time travelling—which is why Pegman, the little dude you drag and drop onto Street View streets, is donning a Doc Brown costume to celebrate the launch.

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