How Often Does Google Street View Update?
Google Maps and Google Street View have changed the way we explore our world, navigate to our destinations, spy on ex-partners, and all kinds of good stuff. The ability to travel anywhere, ‘drive’ down a street, and look at how different people live in different countries is something we never get bored of. But how often does Google Street View update? Is the picture you’re seeing on your screen current? Or is it ancient history?
Google Street View was launched back in 2007 and began with San Francisco, Las Vegas, Denver, Miami, and New York City. As the program expanded, more US cities were added. Then in 2008 Google Street View went international when larger cities in France, Italy, Japan, and Australia were added.
Since that time, Google’s Street View has gone even further and now includes most countries and most towns and cities within those countries. It’s a huge undertaking but one that benefits us all.
How Often Does Street View Update?
We’ll get into the details a little more below, but for the purposes of this article, let’s dive right into your question.
Google Street View has no exact update schedule. If you’re in a city or highly-populated area you’ll see an updated view rather quickly compared to more rural areas. At the time of writing, it seems that Google is focused on getting new images online rather than updating older ones.
Unfortunately, Google doesn’t keep an exact schedule for every street around the world. But, there are other Google tools you can use to decipher how current the Street View you’re seeing really is.
Because of the nature of Google Maps, it tends to update much more often than Google’s Street View. If you’re unsure of a Street View image you’re seeing, check Google Maps’ directions. For example, if you see a ‘No Turn on Red’ sign in the view, Google Maps will navigate your route accordingly.
If you’re wondering whether a business is still open or not, Google’s Search Engine will give you that information too! Simply Google the business and check the hours. Google is pretty reliable when it tells you that a business is closed.
However, if you’re using Google Street View to find out if a friend still lives in their same house, you’re likely out of luck. If that’s the information you’re looking to gather, you’re more apt to get the results you want by looking at the county’s local tax records than using Google Street View.
Despite the lack of an exact time frame, there are still ways to see where Google is going next!
Google Street View Data Gathering
Google Street View now uses two forms of updates to keep current. It still uses the camera cars that drive up and down our streets capturing everything in their special 360-degree cameras. These travel proscribed routes in locations across the world according to a global schedule.
This page on the Google website shows you exactly when and where the Google Street View Car will be at any given time. Scroll down the page to ‘Where we’re headed’ and you can see the published schedule.
The other source of Google Street View imagery is from users. Google introduced this feature in 2017 to allow contributors to add their own images to the Google Street View database for possible inclusion into the map.
Google Street View Updates
As you can imagine, there is a lot of work behind the scenes to take the imagery from the cars and contributors, blur out faces and license plates and prepare them for use on Google Street View. It takes quite a while from the moment the images were captured to seeing them on the map.
There may be a set schedule for taking new images but there is no schedule for updating them to the web. You can tell when Google Street View was updated in the bottom right of the screen. You should see a small box in the corner saying something like ‘Image capture: May 2018’. This was when that particular scene was last updated.
Google says they prioritize areas with no Google Street View presence over updating those with an existing presence. They put more resources into adding to the project and that makes sense. If you checked the Street View car schedule, you will see that the car still retraces its steps so not all cars are sent out to new places. Some at least are updating existing images.
Fortunately, Google Maps does show you the month and year of the image you’re looking at when you click on the Street View option.
Can you request a Google Street View update?
People often ask for Google to revisit their town or their street because it has been renovated, improved, developed, changed, or because they just didn’t like the picture the car took. Unfortunately, you can’t request a new image or update on Street View. The car has a schedule and it sticks to that schedule.
However, if there is something seriously wrong with your Google Street View, you can send a report to Google. From Street View, click on ‘Report a Problem’ and submit a report.
Use the link to submit an issue to Google for review. Of course, you can always upload your own pictures to places you’ve traveled using Google Maps. Provide images, feedback, and even rate businesses using the Google Contribution feature within Google Maps by clicking the three horizontal line menu bar and clicking on ‘Contribute.’
Frequently Asked Questions
Google’s Street View is an incredibly useful tool. We’ve included this section to answer some more of your questions.
Can I request an update on Google Earth?
Yes actually! While you can’t request an update on Street View, you can on Google Earth. Visit the Google Earth website and click on the location of the map you want to be updated. Click ‘Feedback’ from the menu (the three horizontal lines in the upper left-hand corner) and fill out the form. Be sure to include the text “I would like to recommend an imagery refresh” before submitting your feedback.
Can I view past images on Street View?
Some locations do give you the option to see previous images. You’ll need to access Street View from Google Maps. In the upper left-hand corner you’ll see a small box with the photographer’s name and a portion of the address. Just under the address you will see a small clock. Click the clock and you’ll see a slider. Move the slider back (to the left) to see older images.