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Google's new feature lets users travel through time

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Have you ever wanted to travel through time? Google has launched a new feature on Google Maps that allows users to look back and see how specific locations have changed over the years.

Google launched its time machine feature last week, which allows users to see images dating back to 2007, when Google launched Street View in Google Maps.

Google says the feature can serve as a digital timeline of recent history – users can see the reconstruction after the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the construction of the Freedom Tower in New York City and the 2014 World Cup Stadium in Brazil.

It's simple to use – and really addicting. If you see a clock icon in the upper left-hand portion of a Street View image, click on it and move the slider through time and select the thumbnail to see that same place in pervious years or seasons, Google says.

Take a look at how the time machine feature on Street View details the construction of Target Field (the view is from 5th Street North in Minneapolis):

Construction on the ballpark started in 2007. Here is Google Street View from July 2007:

Google Street View went down the street again in July 2009 when construction was well underway:

And again in August 2009:

The ballpark opened in 2010. Here's a look at Target Field in June 2011:

The time machine feature is available for a lot of places, but isn't available everywhere, yet. Google plans to keep adding pictures as its photo-taking cars continue to cruise streets gathering updates, the Associated Press reports.

For major metro areas, there will be 20 or more "time slices" to view, while most other locations there will be two or three, the Washington Post reports. Google says there should be at least one look back in time for just about every neighborhood that can be viewed through Street View.

Prior to this update to Google Maps, about 6 million miles worth of Street View images were available, the Washington Post says. Now, 12 million miles worth of sidewalk-level photos are available to explore.

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