Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Google Photos Prepares to Allow for Editing the Date and Time of a Photo

Google Photos has always been one of Google’s more useful services. The photo backup service has garnered widespread praise for its unlimited, free backup features as well as its robust sharing capabilities. But one area that Google Photos has always lagged in is the ability to edit your photos. Luckily over time, Google has been introducing more and more features to allow you to customize your pictures to your liking (though the editing features are not as robust as those found in some of its competitors).

Editing your photo to produce a better image is one thing, but what about editing your image to make it easier to organize? Unfortunately, the ability ot Google Photos to modify EXIF data has been rather limited. Even today, the ability to edit something as basic as the date and timestamp of a photo is limited to the desktop version. This can be frustrating if you primarily manage your photos on your phone (which there’s no shame in doing, the Android application is pretty well-designed) and you want to re-arrange certain photos to your liking. But with Google Photos version 2.7 now rolling out, that may soon change. A teardown of the APK reveals that Google may soon allow you to edit the EXIF timestamp of your photos.

Although a teardown can provide valuable information regarding upcoming features, it is entirely possible that these features may not make their way into the final product. Do not take these teardowns as proof that a feature will be added, but rather as a hint of what could be coming.

Google Photos Teardown

Within the latest version of Google Photos, there is an interesting string located within the APK that hints at the ability to edit the timestamp of a photo:

Edit icon to allow the user to edit the date/time of the media.

As you can see, there apparently will be an icon within the picture detail screen that will allow you to simply edit the date/time of the media. Previously, you were limited to just editing the location EXIF data. Now it appears that changing the date and time will soon be possible as well. Further evidence for this new feature can also be found with a new layout file called exif_datetime_item.xml that has been added to the APK:

Google Photos Teardown



The name of the layout file and the description of the string are quite clear: editing the EXIF timestamp of a photo may soon be available on the Android version of the application. Furthermore, this layout file seems to directly correspond to the added string, as you can see where it calls to draw the “edit icon”. Desktop users (and even iOS users) have had this ability for quite some time now, so hopefully it finally makes its way to Android as well.

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