Google Maps reveals how biggest US and UK cities have changed over decades

MOST people use Google Maps to plan a future journey but did you know the website can also take you back in time?

On the desktop version of Google Street View you can use a timer tool in the top left corner to see what a place looked like years earlier.


London’s famous Portobello Road Market in 2019Credit: Google Maps
This was it looking less colourful in 2008


This was it looking less colourful in 2008Credit: Google Maps

London Portobello Road

London’s famous Portobello Road Market is a great example of how a place can visibly change on Street View.

The market attracts plenty of tourists and locals every weekend.

The last time the Google Maps teams visited was in 2019.

You can use Street View to view the road as far back as 2008 and you’ll notice some big differences.

Back in 2008 there was a Woolworths on the street and no market or Union Jack banners.

London Bridge

London Bridge before The Shard


London Bridge before The ShardCredit: Google Maps
London Bridge with the Shard in 2019


London Bridge with the Shard in 2019Credit: Google Maps

London Bridge is another great example because you can see the central location with and without The Shard.

The UK’s tallest building was built in 2009 but Street View can take you back to what London Bridge looked like in 2008.

New York

Times Square in 2021


Times Square in 2021Credit: Google Maps
The Lion King was still being advertised in 2012 but the McDonald's used to be a Swatch shop


The Lion King was still being advertised in 2012 but the McDonald’s used to be a Swatch shopCredit: Google Maps

Anywhere near New York’s Times Square is fun to use the tool because the billboards noticeably change.

If you spin around in Time Square you’ll notice that McDonald’s that’s present in 2021 used to be a Swatch shop in 2012.


Chicago in 2009


Chicago in 2009Credit: Google Maps
Chicago in 2021


Chicago in 2021Credit: Google Maps

A Google Street View trip to Chicago Riverwalk can show you how skyscrapers have been built there over the years.

Street View can take you from 2021 to 2009, when there were a few less buildings near the river.

Manchester, Salford

MediaCityUK in 2021


MediaCityUK in 2021
The Salford site back in 2008


The Salford site back in 2008

A trip down to Salford on Google Street View can show you Media City and what it looked like before it was built.

MediaCityUK is based on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal and is home to some ITV and BBC offices.

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