If you lost your camera — as in someone stole it — what is the chance of getting it back? And how could you?
The idea behind our Featured Site, Stolen Camera Finder, is simple enough: upload a picture taken from the camera and the site will extract the camera’s serial number from the photo’s metadata (EXIF Info). No picture? That’s fine as long as you have the camera’s serial number. It then searches through its database to see if it can find a picture with the same serial number embedded in its metadata. If it does, you’ve found the person who’s now using your camera. If not, you can submit a stolen camera report and they’ll do a Web crawl to search for it.
There are a number of problems with this scheme:
- Not every camera saves its serial number in the metadata
- The thief may not upload any picture to the Web
- The thief may upload processed pictures to the Web that may have had the metadata removed
- The person who is now using your camera may have purchased it from someone else and is not necessarily your thief (though it’s still stolen goods and need to be returned)
I am not sure how well it works because I just dragged a picture from my latest camera review and, though it extracted the EXIF Info and serial number, it did not find this site displaying lots of other pictures taken from same camera. The search took a fraction of a second so I don’t believe it actually went and scoured the Web. I would guess the database is not extensive enough or up-to-date. The idea is great and I hope the author gets some venture capital backing to push this further. Sounds like something our friends over at Mountain View may be interested in?