Google Timelapse does the time warp!

Brand new site from Google Earth lets you watch three decades of change happen in the blink of an eye
google timelapse Google Earth's new website, Timelapse, is a way to time travel through the last 32 years of Earth's history. (Courtesy of Google Earth)

Do you ever imagine what it would be like to travel back in time? Just pick some time, somewhere, and zzzzzzap!... you're in the past!

Well, guess what?!

Uh... you can't actually do that.

But you can use Google Earth Timelapse to do something sort of similar.

Around the world in 32 years

Timelapse is a brand new site from Google that archives over 5 million satellite shots of Earth dating from 1984 all the way up to 2016. What does that mean? You can enter any location on the planet into its search engine and it will immediately zoom you there. Then it will play a kind of mini-movie showing how that place has looked every year over the last 32 years. You can even choose how quickly the years scroll by, zoom in and out, or freeze the "movie" at any point.

In some cases, the changes aren't much. But in others, it is remarkable all that has gone on in the last three decades. Just take a look at the city of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.

I'm sorry... did that beach just grow islands?!

And watch in amazement as the Chinese city of Chongqing seems to bloom overnight into a metropolis of over 30 million people...

Watching lakes grow... and shrink

Some of the most noticeable changes that you can see with Google Timelapse are with bodies of water. Siling Tso, or Siling Lake, is a saltwater lake in Tibet. Since 1984, its grown in size, even gaining a huge new section on its northern side.

But on the other hand, some lakes and seas have almost disappeared completely over the same period of time. The Aral Sea in Kazakhstan used to be full of wildlife and contained around 1,000 islands (the word Aral means "island"). Today, the sea is barely there at all.

Where would you like to visit?

These destinations are just the tip of the iceberg on this grand tour of the world. What place would you like to see change before your eyes? It's all up to you!

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