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Google Earth’s latest update lets users go back in time to up to 37 years

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Google Earth received the first major update since 2017, which adds a new Timelapse feature. The new feature lets the users go back in time to up to 37 years and see the globe evolve over the years. The new feature is built on previous satellite images recorded over the past years.

“In the biggest update to Google Earth since 2017, you can now see our planet in an entirely new dimension — time. With Timelapse in Google Earth, 24 million satellite photos from the past 37 years have been compiled into an interactive 4D experience. Now anyone can watch time unfold and witness nearly four decades of planetary change,” Google said in a blog post.

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Users can look up Google Earth’s Timelapse to search for a city or any other region of their choice to see how that place has changed over the years. “We’ve also uploaded more than 800 Timelapse videos in both 2D and 3D for public use at g.co/TimelapseVideos. You can select any video you want as a ready-to-use MP4 video or sit back and watch the videos on YouTube,” Google said in the post.

The Cali-based tech giant wants its users to spread awareness regarding the change to highlight important topics such as the rapidly declining rainforests or even carbon footprint. Google is hoping that the Timelapse feature could be used as visual evidence that treats the climate crisis as an urgent matter that needs to be looked after right away.

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Building such a feature is obviously not an easy task. In the blog post, Google mentioned that to develop something as gigantic and effective as the new Timelapse feature, the team working there gathered over 24 million satellite images which took two million processing hours across thousands of machines in Google Cloud. Google also mentions that the project’s size is also the equivalent of 5,30,000 videos in 4K resolution.

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