Great Scott -- Google has done it, Doc! Google Street View now let's you travel back in time to see how specific locations have changed since they were first recorded for Google Maps back in 2007.
You may not be able to see how New York City looked back in 1776, but you certainly can see what it looked like back in 2007 before the Freedom Tower was erected in the location where the Twin Towers once stood. You can also see how Fortaleza, Brazil, looked before they started work on the World Cup Stadium, and how much work the Japanese have done since the terrible 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Onagawa, Japan.
"Starting [Wednesday], 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," says Vinay Shet, Google Street View product manager in a blog post. "We've gathered historical imagery from past Street View collections dating back to 2007 to create this digital time capsule of the world."
The new feature also lets you see different locations during all the seasons. For example, if you're planning a vacation to Stockholm, Sweden, but you can't decide if you want to go for Christmas or in the summer, you'll be able to see what kind of weather you're getting into.
So far, Google has documented 5 million miles around the globe from more than 50 different countries for Street View. Google is adding more locations every day, including the roads less traveled, such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
The idea behind Street View is to give everyone with Internet access a glimpse of the world without having to move a single step. The new feature is now available on desktop when you go to Street View.
"Forget going 88 mph in a DeLorean -- you can stay where you are and use Google Maps to virtually explore the world as it is -- and as it was," says Shet.
As Doc would say, "Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads."