Estimated Google Photos locations: what they are and how to prevent the app from saving them

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estimated google photos locations what they are and how to.jpg
estimated google photos locations what they are and how to.jpg

Since photos are often taken with a location to determine exactly where they were taken, Google Photos can put the gallery on top of the map so take a tour of all those places you were visiting. Now, what happens if you don’t have the location tag active on the camera? Well, Photos applies an estimated location by default; function that you can turn off if you are not interested in Google registering your locations (or to do so to a lesser extent).

Position data is very sweet for Google, with Android mobiles it receives the complete location history with all the movement records of each user. This, which at first glance represents a privacy risk, also has repercussions on certain benefits for the owner of the phone; how to know if there are traffic jams on the road, if the next bus is full, how crowded a shopping mall is, and also allows Photos to apply markup tags to images. They are the simulated locations.

Google Photos uses location history

Mock Locations Google Photos

As we said, location history is key for Google and also for Android. Beyond the company collects excessive data from each user, this results in extra information that can be really useful: this history can be consulted in the Google account of each user. And just from there, Photos extracts the location tags in the event that the camera does not geo-position the captured content.

Camera apps often ask if they should use location to record each image and video with where they were taken. These data remain in the EXIF ​​record of each file; a record reporting the parameters that influenced the capture of the scene.

In the event that the phone’s camera does not have location permission, the photo obtained will be left without that data. And Google Photos estimates the approximate location based on the time of photography, match that time with location history and applies a rough label with the location of the shot. It is what is known as simulated location: it is not precise, but it is very close to the real one.

Google Photos estimates the place where the image was taken by comparing the time and date with the position of the phone based on the location record

Since Google Photos uses mock locations by default, as long as you sync your camera roll, and the photos or videos don’t have the location tag, Photos will contrast the date, time and elements of the image with the location record; choosing the approximate location of the photograph (it also uses other values, such as image analysis). In the event that you do not want the simulated locations, you must do the following:

  • Open the Google Photos app and tap on your avatar icon in the top right.
  • Select “Photo Settings.”
  • Scroll down to “Location.”
  • Go into “Location Sources.”
  • Deactivate the function “Deduct missing locations“. This way Google Photos will not fill in the EXIF ​​location data in case the camera does not include it in the shots.
Mock Locations Google Photos

Although with this process your photos and videos will not use the locations simulated by Google Photos, this app could still access your google location history. In the event that you do not want the company to collect this private data, you must completely deactivate said history, the location history. Of course, keep in mind that you will lose important functions of your Android; how to recover the mobile in case of loss or theft.