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I am in the Pacific time zone, looking at driving times in Ontario, Canada. I heard that traffic can be bad, so I want to figure out expected driving time to the Toronto airport.

But when I dial up times in Google Maps (see below), it is unclear to me what time zone the times refer to. Are the times my browser/PC's clock time zone (Pacific), or are they the local time zone of the start or ending locations entered in maps (in this case, eastern US)?

Is there some Google documentation I can refer to? (I didn't find any.)

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29

I did some testing and it seems to be the time of the start and ending points you provided. I chose a route which passes a time border (between Spain and Portugal) and this is what I get:

Trip over two time zones

As you can see it takes into account the time zones, as the arrival time is actually before the departure time (because it's offset by the time difference).

Just to confirm, I looked up another trip by train this time and I chose a time 10:00 AM. I'm located in GMT+8, the train trip is in Switzerland, which is GMT+1. So if it is taking my computer's time into account, this would give try to find connections leaving at 3:00 AM. Of course, it wouldn't find any, as there are no trains running in the middle of the night.

Trip in the middle of the night

As I get connections, this must mean that it is considering 10:00 AM in Switzerland and not where my computer is located.

I think with this (and of course also the official manual stated in the other answer) it's quite safe to say that Google gives you the local time at your departure and arrival points and does not take into account your system's local time.

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    Thank you. I should have thought of that! (I was really stuck on the fact that the @#$@# UI itself in google maps gives no direct clue... time is a meaningless number without a time zone marker) – samsmith Jan 11 '18 at 15:05
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    [HUMOUR] "the arrival time is actually before the departure time..." This is because you clicked the Delorean car icon – Sembei Norimaki Jan 11 '18 at 15:52
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It's the locale's (ie the place you're looking at, not your phone/browser) time, of course. Wouldn't make sense if it were anything else. There's some information about that, but it's in the Android Developer's Documentation – not exactly light reading.

  • I agree that it wouldn't make sense to be anything else but that doesn't guarantee it does the sensible thing. For example, a colleague of mine once concluded that it takes multiple hours to get from Kansai airport to Kyoto by train because he made a Google maps query from the UK in the middle of the night, Japanese time. It didn't make sense for Google to assume we wanted to know the travel times right now, rather than at a typical time (it takes about 80 minutes), but Google did that anyway. – David Richerby Jan 11 '18 at 12:02
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    And, even today, if you want to tell Google Maps that you're travelling at a different time from "right now", you have to tell the Schedule Explorer the time in your own timezone, which it then translates to the time zone the journey is in. For the above Kansai-Kyoto journey, I said I want to leave at noon and it told me about trains leaving at 9pm, since Japan is 9hrs ahead of me. – David Richerby Jan 11 '18 at 12:04
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    @DavidRicherby I just tested this on the Google Maps website and the Android app, and it does not seem to be the case. If I select a "depart at" time, it will use the Japanse timezone. But it's confusing on Android because there is no "Leave now" option: if you set the time to the current time (local to your phone) it will assume you mean "Leave now" and not use the timezone of the start and destination points. – Jan Fabry Jan 11 '18 at 13:59
  • @JanFabry Weird -- I was reporting what had happened to me while checking the actual time to write my previous comment. Maybe it was a glitch. – David Richerby Jan 11 '18 at 14:00

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