Stolen Camera Finder Finds Stolen Cameras | Gadget Lab | Wired.com
Stolen Camera Finder Finds Stolen Cameras
If you lose your phone or your computer, there’s a fair chance you’ll get it back if you’re using some kind of tracking software. As we have seen before, Apple’s Find my iPhone service has rescued more than one lost phone. But what about your other gadgets?
If your camera is stolen, you now have at least a chance of finding it thanks to the Stolen Camera Finder by Matt Burns. It works by searching the web for photos bearing the serial number of your camera. This number is embedded in the EXIF data of every photograph you take.
Using the tool is easy. Just visit the site and drag a photo from your camera onto the waiting box. The tool searches its database for your camera and if it finds it, you can then go see the pictures. This may — hopefully — give you some clues as to where it is now. You’ll need to use a JPG image (RAW doesn’t work) and some cameras don’t write their serial number into the metadata.
The data comes from Flickr, and also from data crawled from the web. Matt has also written a browser extension for Google Chrome which will check the serial number of photos on every page you visit and add it to the database.
I tried the tool with a photo from my camera, and nothing showed up. I have a ton of photos online, on both on Flickr and here at Wired.com, so I was expecting something. I guess that the service will increase in value as time passes and the database grows. Still, the service is free, and if nothing else it lets you view a whole lot of information about your photos in the drop-down list.