Innovations That Matter

Search engine scans online images for hidden data

Work & Lifestyle

GadgetTrak Camera Serial Search hopes to reunite owners with lost or stolen cameras using an online database and search engine.

ActiveTrak, which launched the world’s first patented theft recovery and tracking solution for laptops and gadgets, has launched GadgetTrak Camera Serial Search. The service hopes to reunite owners with lost or stolen cameras using a search engine that returns images from the internet based on cameras’ serial numbers. Digital cameras and smartphones embed data in images called EXIF tags, which can include serial number, shutter speed, flash settings and even location data. Using this information, GadgetTrak has created a search engine which scans photos on popular photo sharing sites, extracts serial numbers if available, and then returns any images which have a matching serial number to the one searched for. Because of the large number of photos continually being added to these sites, they have partnered with Springwise-featured CPUsage to spread the workload across hundreds of computer systems and ensure results are returned quickly. A list of supported cameras can be found on their website, and over 2.5 million serial numbers are indexed so far. Justin Thiele of ActiveTrak hopes the technology will help with copyright infringement issues and other more serious crimes as well as tracking stolen cameras. Currently in beta, the service is free, and GadgetTrak welcome feedback as they add new features to their growing database. As well as this latest spotting, regular readers may also remember the recently featured TurlyTag, which also helped users discover lost items. As more and more people are purchasing smartphones and other high-end gadgets, is this an area to get involved in?



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