Google Earth has a nifty new feature called “Timelapse” that can give you a bird’s eye view (or really, a satellite’s eye view) of cities and other places as they change across time.
The tech giant calls it the biggest update to Google Earth since 2017, incorporating 20 million satellite photos from the last 37 years. So you just type in a place you want to see (say “Kuala Lumpur” or “Johor Bahru”) and you can watch it change across nearly four decades.
It’s pretty cool, we have to admit – especially when applied to a city or town that you’ve grown up in. To begin, you can simply click here and use the search bar to find the place you want to see.
For example, here’s a view of Kuala Lumpur from 1984 to 2020.
If you prefer a more guided tour, you can open Google Earth and click on the ship’s wheel to find Timelapse in Google Earth’s storytelling platform, Voyager. While there, you can click on “Warming Planet”, for example, and watch the melting of an Alaskan glacier as the years pass – a worrying reminder of climate change.
Google has also helpfully uploaded a whole bunch of timelapse videos on this webpage and on YouTube. You’ll find videos of Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, and Segamat along with predictable inclusions like New York and London.