Author Topic: Google Photos and Video Timestamps  (Read 143 times)

StarGeek

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Google Photos and Video Timestamps
« on: April 10, 2019, 02:03:52 PM »
I'm doing testing on how Google Photos reads the time metadata and the results are just bizarre.

I'm starting with 4 copies of the same video.  Two files are set to with  -quicktime:*Date=now.  This sets the time stamps to local time, incorrect by spec but a common result with cameras that don't keep track of time zones.  Two files are set with -quicktime:*Date=now -api quicktimeutc which sets the time stamps correctly according to the spec.  The result is two files with a local time of 2019:04:10 10:24:16 and two files with a UTC time of  2019:04:10 17:24:16.

I upload two of the files, one local and one UTC to Google Photos.  I then use a VPN to connect with a server in France and upload the other two files.  I double check with google to show that the IP address I'm uploading is indeed from France.  Current time zone in California is -07:00, France is +02:00.

File  Embedded time  Google Photos Time  Google Photos TZ Shown
File 1, Local California time, upload from California  2019:04:10 10:24:16    2019:04:10 03:24    -07:00
File 2, UTC time, upload from California  2019:04:10 17:24:16  2019:04:10 10:24    -07:00
File 3, Local California time, upload from France  2019:04:10 10:24:16  2019:04:10 05:24    -05:00
File 4, UTC time, upload from France  2019:04:10 17:24:16  2019:04:10 12:24    -05:00

If Google Photos is reading the data correctly, then the UTC time should be the same no matter what.  For the files the were uploaded from California, it's correctly adjusting to -07:00 from UTC.  The files uploaded from France appear to be combining the time zone from the IP address of the upload (+02:00) and the local timezone of the computer it's uploading from (-07:00).

Just plain weird.
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Hayo Baan

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Re: Google Photos and Video Timestamps
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2019, 02:42:12 PM »
Indeed plain weird. Glad I don't make use of Google ;D
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Phil Harvey

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Re: Google Photos and Video Timestamps
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2019, 07:41:11 AM »
Adding time zones doesn't make sense.

Could it be that Google thinks you were on the east coast of the U.S. instead of France?  Maybe they just got the location wrong somehow.  Perhaps it is something to do with the way the provider is connected to north america.  Maybe via another provider on the east coast of the U.S. that somehow gets identified as the origin of the signal?

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StarGeek

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Re: Google Photos and Video Timestamps
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2019, 03:20:33 PM »
Could it be that Google thinks you were on the east coast of the U.S. instead of France?  Maybe they just got the location wrong somehow.  Perhaps it is something to do with the way the provider is connected to north america.  Maybe via another provider on the east coast of the U.S. that somehow gets identified as the origin of the signal?

But if it thought I was east coast US, then the time zone should be -04:00 instead of -05:00.

When I was logged in through the VPN to France, I checked what the supposed location was based upon the the IP address.  I can't remember my exact search term when I was googling a site to give me the IP location, but Google popped up that I was "located" in France.  Unfortunately, I can't replicate it.

I'll have to come back to this and do some more extensive checking for video, but I thought I'd update this since I'm working on checking what Google Photos does with image time zone data.
Troubleshooting hints:
* When posting, include your OS, Exiftool version, and type of file you're processing (MP4, JPG, etc).
* Double all percent signs (%) in a Windows batch file.
* If your GPS coords are negative, make sure and set the GpsLatitudeRef and GpsLongitudeRef tags correctly.