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How does Facebook know location of old photos?!


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Old 23-11-2011, 01:11
Weeksy
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Hi all,

Thoroughly impressed - uploaded some photos I took back in 2004 on a normal digital camera about 3 years back, and Facebook has started guessing where they were taken - e.g. "Pizza Express, Maidenhead".

How on earth does it know? There is no reference in the album to where they were taken, they predate GPS and phone cameras... thoroughly bemused!
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Old 23-11-2011, 09:53
GetFrodo
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Maybe one of your friends has given it a location?
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Old 23-11-2011, 12:09
Big Poy
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Facebook knows EVERYTHING
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Old 25-11-2011, 17:26
paulmellers
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I took some photo's of the Shard and it asked if they were taken from Guys Hospital. Yep! Not sure how it knnew i used the camera without GPS.
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Old 25-11-2011, 18:41
Jimmy_McNulty
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Every digital image carries with it meta data, including where and when that image was taken.

So it's not so much your Facebook knowing, as it was simply taken from information provided by the data in the image.

There was a big hoohar over this with Twitter.
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Old 25-11-2011, 18:44
Stig
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Every digital image carries with it meta data, including where and when that image was taken.

So it's not so much your Facebook knowing, as it was simply taken from information provided by the data in the image.

There was a big hoohar over this with Twitter.
How is a 2004 camera supposed to know where it was when a picture was taken?
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Old 25-11-2011, 18:54
Jimmy_McNulty
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How is a 2004 camera supposed to know where it was when a picture was taken?
It was a digital camera.
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Old 25-11-2011, 19:14
paulbrock
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Every digital image carries with it meta data,
yep

including where
nope

and when that image was taken.
yep.

Location information can be added afterwards in all manner of programs like Photoshop or on most online galleries like Flickr and Smugmug, but the camera itself has no idea whether you're in Japan or Clacton, and therefore cannot record that information. (unless its got a gps built in)

edit:a quick google suggests FB does this based on album description or title, but that doesn't match up with users experiences, including the OP's presumably.
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Old 25-11-2011, 19:22
zx50
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It was a digital camera.
How on earth can a digital camera know where the photo was taken? My digital camera just places gobbledygook in the filename. For a camera to be able to do this, a company would have to list every single building/place and then place that in memory. That would take up a phenomenal amount of storage. Then of course, there's the fact that things and areas change all the time.
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Old 25-11-2011, 19:30
Stig
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It was a digital camera.
So it works by magic.
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Old 25-11-2011, 19:32
paulbrock
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How on earth can a digital camera know where the photo was taken? My digital camera just places gobbledygook in the filename. For a camera to be able to do this, a company would have to list every single building/place and then place that in memory. That would take up a phenomenal amount of storage. Then of course, there's the fact that things and areas change all the time.
however matching the photograph to similar ones online is perfectly doable. Google Googles works on this principle - take a photo of the eiffel tower and it will identify it as being in Paris. Whether it works down to the level of a non-descript cul-de-sac in the Home Counties, I couldn't say, but certainly photographs of landmarks are dead easy.

I would guess Facebook uses a combination of this, the date of the photos (that WILL be stored for pretty much any photo) and what it knows about your college/job/places you lived to make guesses.
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Old 25-11-2011, 20:50
zx50
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however matching the photograph to similar ones online is perfectly doable. Google Googles works on this principle - take a photo of the eiffel tower and it will identify it as being in Paris. Whether it works down to the level of a non-descript cul-de-sac in the Home Counties, I couldn't say, but certainly photographs of landmarks are dead easy.

I would guess Facebook uses a combination of this, the date of the photos (that WILL be stored for pretty much any photo) and what it knows about your college/job/places you lived to make guesses.
I highly doubt that Google will have a photo of every building.....even popular places that people go to. I know what you're saying though. They'll likely build it up as time goes by. Google have brought out some amazing things, Street View for one, which is outstanding!
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Old 26-11-2011, 15:02
paulmellers
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The photo I took of the Shard from guys were Geotagged. My camera and iPhone add the location metadata from their inbuild GPS. Now facebook has suggested a photo I took of a go-kart as being taken at Albourne Go Kart track, in 2007. My camera nor phone had this facility, and there are no landmarks in the picture.... mystery!
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Old 26-11-2011, 16:02
paulbrock
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False positives are probably more helpful in figuring out how it works. For the go kart, do you. Or any friends have any mentions of albourne, anywhere on fb? Or anywhere nearby?

Software can figure out "ok that's a pic of a gokart, so which track is it likely to be". It does sound like black magic at times! When do you get the prompt, after uploading? I've never seen it...
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Old 27-11-2011, 08:53
darkknight77
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It was a digital camera.
Lol!
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Old 27-11-2011, 13:17
Weeksy
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False positives are probably more helpful in figuring out how it works. For the go kart, do you. Or any friends have any mentions of albourne, anywhere on fb? Or anywhere nearby?

Software can figure out "ok that's a pic of a gokart, so which track is it likely to be". It does sound like black magic at times! When do you get the prompt, after uploading? I've never seen it...
No, it just pops up occasionally on the right hand side saying "Is this Pizza Express Maidenhead?". Its quite impressive. Fairly certain there isn't any textual links to the location before hand, it was just a title named "such and such's birthday"

Black magic indeed!
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Old 27-11-2011, 13:44
whoever,hey
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It will use text recognition aswell. I bet there was a logo in the picture somewhere.
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Old 20-12-2011, 09:36
paulbrock
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this finally popped up for me.

On an old album of stag party photos, which consisted of a photo in Stansted Airport, a photo of a hotel room with no features and two guys in bed together, a close up of two guys in tuxes and a not well known Edinburgh restaurant, it correctly identified it as being in Edinburgh. Photos taken in 2003, and not a hint of geotagging going on.

It also matched an album titled "V festival" correctly to Chelmsford, but that had a 50/50 chance anyway!

Snow scenes it correctly matched to London, and Clapham fireworks it correctly matched to clapham common, going off the name I guess as they were all shots of the sky with no landmarks.

The only one it got wrong was a street shot of a flashmob which it thought was in Liverpool, rather than Liverpool St, London - which definitely suggests it goes off related text rather than image identification.
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