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Metadata Bug with Photos

New member | Level 1
New member | Level 1

I'm a pro user with several hundred GB of photos and videos in Dropbox.  I engaged Dropbox support to investigate why many of my photos and videos seemed to be missing from the "photos" view.  They looked into it, and told me that my photos and videos weren't missing, but that they were in the "no timestamps" section, because they didn't have timestamp metadata.  After I gave them dumps from Exiftool showing that the "missing" photos and videos actually had metadata (many are just uploaded from my iPhone), they acknowledged an apparent bug and said they'd look into it.

It's been about a month and a half now, and I've heard nothing.  I write them every so often, and get what appears to be a canned response back, making me wonder if they're understaffed.  (The cancellation of Carousel might also seem to indicate some revenue issues within Dropbox.)  I don't have confidence they're actually working on it.

Has anyone else experienced this metadata problem?  Photos and videos that you know to be present (you can find them in your folders view) that don't show up in your "photos" view?  Way too many photos in your "missing timestamps" section?  I'm curious to know if this is widespread.  If it's just some issue peculiar to my account, that might also explain why they're dragging their feet.

Thanks,

Mike

24 Replies 24
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Re: Metadata Bug with Photos

Helpful | Level 6

Yes, I just noticed the same problem today. I knew that I had a lot of old, scanned photos that might be missing metadata. But, I was surprised to find a lot of recent items at the beginning of the photos timeline with apparently missing metadata. I haven't done a full inventory yet, but this includes a lot of .mov files taken on my iPhone. I confirmed that the metadata is exists in these files with Exiftool. Strangely, some of my "missing metadata" files are in the same folder as other files that show up perfectly well in the photos timeline. From a side-by-side comparison with Exiftool, the metadata looks the same between files that are treated properly and files that are showing up as missing metadata. I'm not sure what's different.

Highlighted

Re: Metadata Bug with Photos

New member | Level 1
New member | Level 1

Hi Mike and Serkan,

I am experiencing the same issue with the "photo timeline" portion of Dropbox.  My timeline has not updated since April 3, even though there are new images uploaded daily to Dropbox.  I've reached out to Dropbox support and so far have received a striking similar response to the one you received.  

I can verify that the exif data on my images is correct, and I suspect this issue has something to do with the sunset of carousel.

In addition to your experience, when I select any of these new images created after April 3 and choose to add them to an album or view them in the timeline, Dropbox returns a "Couldn't find item" error.  If I select an image created before April 3, I don't receive an error.

When I hear more from Dropbox support, I will provide an update here.

Thanks,

Scott

 

Highlighted

Re: Metadata Bug with Photos

New member | Level 1
New member | Level 1

Mike and Serkan,

I was told by Dropbox support that my ticket has been passed along to the engineering team, and that I will be notified in the future regarding any updates.

During my back and forth with Dropbox support, I made the following additional observations regarding the behavior I am experiencing with the photo timeline.

I first deleted a single image, which was created before April 3 and appears in my timeline. I deleted this imaged from its directory location within Dropbox (not through the photo timeline), and the image disappeared from my timeline. When I restored this image from the “Deleted Files” trash can, it reappeared in my photo timeline. This behavior is normal and indicates to me that the photo timeline continues to functions normally for existing images.

I then made a copy of this image into a separate folder. After refreshing my photo timeline, this identical image was not updated or displayed within my timeline. This behavior is not normal; I would expect to see duplicate copies of the original image displayed within my timeline.

Now, if I take the same original image, copy it, delete the original and rename the copy to match the name of the original, the image disappears from my photo timeline. I’ve verified that the exif data contained within the copied image is identical to the original version. This behavior is not normal; I would expect to see a single copy of the original image displayed within my timeline.

To further identify what was occurring, I then modified the exif data of the same original image to indicate a created-on-date (DateTimeOriginal) prior to April 3. The original image then disappeared from my timeline. This behavior is not normal; I would expect to see the original image with the modified exif data displayed within my timeline at the new created-on-date.

My troubleshooting indicates that my photo timeline is not currently working, or at least processing any new images uploaded to Dropbox. This behavior is independent from the exif created-on-date (DateTimeOriginal) contained within the image.

If/when I received any additional information, I will provide an update here.

Thanks,

Scott

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Re: Metadata Bug with Photos

New member | Level 2
New member | Level 2

I have the same issue with iphone movies uploaded from a recent holiday. Some are in the correct place in Timeline and some are 'missing dates'

Highlighted

Re: Metadata Bug with Photos

New member | Level 1
New member | Level 1

Scott, your issue reminds me of a different problem I reported a while back: I would edit a photo (in my Dropbox folder) using Picasa.  I'd save the edits to the original file and confirm that the file was sync'd up to Dropbox.  I also confirmed that the file was sync'd down to another device.  The timeline never showed the edits.

I reported detailed steps to reproduce to tech support, but they wanted screenshots.  I didn't have time (at the time) and then forgot about it.

I will be eager to hear whether anyone gets any useful information from tech support.  I started pestering Dropbox support about my issue (the original one posted at the top), and it seemed to work against me (to the point where I was only getting the canned responses back and they stopped acknowledging that there was a problem.)  I asked for a refund of the balance of my prepaid year, and they said "no".

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Re: Metadata Bug with Photos

New member | Level 1
New member | Level 1

Mike,

As of earlier this afternoon, my photo timeline began functioning normally, which comes as a surprise and a relief.  Although my interaction with Dropbox support took eleven (11) days, I am satisfied that it has been resolved.  Curiously got the best of me and I reached back out to Dropbox support to find out the inside baseball regarding this behavior.  When I have more information, I will post it here.

Thanks,

Scott

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Re: Metadata Bug with Photos

Helpful | Level 6

Unfortunately, the issue remains unsolved for my timeline. I have a lot of photos and videos (captured on an iPhone) that are still sitting in the "missing dates" section of my timeline. I have tried deleting files from DropBox and then adding them back on my computer and this simple trick didn't solve the problem. Unlike Scott, I haven't experienced a specific cut-off date with uploads. The majority of my timeline disruption appears to be coming from November to December 2015 and it doesn't appear that there is any impact on files from 2016. I will see if I can modify EXIF data to see if anything changes. Sorry that I haven't had much testing/de-bugging time lately.

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Re: Metadata Bug with Photos

New member | Level 1
New member | Level 1

I emailed Dropbox support regarding the root cause of this issue and received the following response:

"Syncing your files can take time if you have many files or large files. I do not have any details on what may have caused the problem."

At best, an unsatisfactory response.

Mike, Serkan - I suggest pestering the front-line Dropbox support personnel until your issue is resolved or escalated to someone who can provide a resolution.  

Mike - If you are truly unsatisfied with the Dropbox product and your money will not be refunded, take it up with your credit card company (i.e. failure to provide services paid for)

Please continue to post updates to this problem as your issues are (hopefully) resolved.

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Re: Metadata Bug with Photos

New member | Level 1
New member | Level 1

I unfortunately am experiencing this bug.  I paid money to Dropbox so I could manage the very large numbers of photos I take and share with others, and with this bug, Dropbox is a failure for me. 

How can I get this fixed? 

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