If you’re the type of person who finds certain joy in looking at timelapse videos and animations, then you probably know about Google Earth Timelapse. If you didn’t know about it yet, then have we got a surprise for you. Launched back in 2013, this is Google’s way of showing us how the world has been evolving over the years. The newest update to it is that it’s now available on your mobile browser (again) and they’ve added a few more years in this visual evolution.
You will now be able to view Google Earth Timelapse on your smartphone or tablet browser. Previously, you couldn’t because these browsers disabled auto-playing videos and in order for you to see the Timelapses, you needed that feature. But now that Chrome and Firefox now allows you the option to have videos autoplay, you can now see how particular places in the world have evolved over the years.
Another major update to this Google feature is that it has added two more years to its dataset. This means you can now view the global, zoomable time-lapse videos and see the changes from 1984 to 2018. That’s 35 years worth of visual data from places like the emergence of the Dubai Palm Islands, the growth of Las Vegas, Nevada, how large-scale infrfastucture has affected the hydropower dams in the Brazilian Amazon, etc. Google Earth Timelapse also now has an updated Material Design look.
The timelapse videos, which are actually 35 global cloud-free images put together, come from more than 15,000 million satellite images from the Google Earth Engine. The images are from the U.S. Geological Survey/NASA Landsat and European Sentinel programs. Google partnered with Carnegie Mellon’s CREATE lab and its Time Machine video technology which makes Google Earth Timelapse “interactively explorable”.
While it’s pretty interesting to see all these time-lapse videos, it can also be a bit depressing as you can actually see how things have changed and not always for the better. Things like natural phenomenon are unavoidable at times but seeing how man-made changes have caused deterioration is also a wake-up call.