Google Photos has all sorts of tricks up its sleeve. One is “Estimated Locations,” by which it can identify where your picture was taken just by looking at it. Our friend Father Pitt provides us with a few examples, though he was very reluctant to show them, because they are unedited and therefore full of lens distortion and other embarrassments.
This picture was taken in Oxford just around the corner from the Ashmolean Museum.
Father Pitt swears he was standing across the street from the Kaufmann’s department store in Pittsburgh when he took it, but apparently his lens has a longer range than he remembers.
This one is in the middle of Tower Bridge in London:
It appears to be part of the central tower of East Liberty Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh (which Father Pitt intended to be part of a giant composite picture of the church), but appearances can be deceiving.
This one is in Bath:
—or at least Google says it’s in Bath, but then shows us a map of Salisbury:
Close enough. Father Pitt says the building bears an astonishing resemblance to the Burke Building on Fourth Avenue in Pittsburgh, but he bows before the superior intelligence of the machine.
But it is possible to fool Google. The machine identifies this as a photo from France:
Ha! Father Pitt put some effort into fooling Google here. This is Phipps Conservatory’s version of Red Vineyards Near Arles by Vincent van Gogh, rendered in plants. Phipps Conservatory is not near Arles at all! We sure fooled Google this time.