Sunday morning: time to survey the damage from last night’s party. As I walked around the apartment picking up empty beer bottles and cups, wiping up spills, and putting the furniture back, I remember having a distinct feeling that something was amiss. A quick survey of the apartment, and it hits me. My DSLR was missing.
Even as I frantically searched every nook and cranny of the apartment I knew the answer: someone had stolen my camera.
Looking for a lost camera on the web by searching for its serial number in uploaded photos is nothing new (see Stolen Camera Finder), but GadgetTrak’s new CameraTrace service takes it one step further. For a fee of $10 per camera, the service will actively monitor the Internet for your camera’s serial number. If it ever pops up in a photo uploaded to popular photo sharing services, you’ll get an email notification. Back in August, GadgetTrak’s manual Serial Search helped a photographer recover $9000 in stolen gear.
CameraTrace (via TechCrunch)
Earlier this year we saw the launch of two search engines — Stolen Camera Finder and GadgetTrak Serial Search — that help find stolen cameras by searching photos on the web for the serial numbers. The idea is neat, but no one knew whether it would actually help recover stolen gear or not. Turns out it does work.
The Stolen Camera Finder is a new search engine developed over the past two years by programmer Matt Burns. His idea is to search the web for photographs that have a stolen camera’s serial number embedded in the EXIF information. It uses two web crawlers — the first is a standard one that accesses Flickr’s API, while the second is a Google Chrome browser plugin that silently runs in the background and peeks at the serial numbers of images on any webpage viewed. These serial numbers and URLs are stored in a database, and if you’d like to volunteer your browsing for this you can download the Chrome plugin here.