Most camera manufacturers embed the serial number found on a camera’s body into its software as well. The serial number is then included in the metadata with which every picture taken by the camera is tagged. getTrak wants to help you find the location of your stolen camera based on pictures taken with the camera.

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.

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.

How it works
GadgetTrak has partnered with CPUsage to create a special search engine spider that scans photos on popular photo sharing sites and extracts the serial numbers from them if available. This serial number data is stored in what are called Exchangeable Image Format ( EXIF ) tags in the photo itself.

How do you get the serial number?
Digital cameras and even smartphones embed data in images in what are called EXIF tags, many digital cameras embed the serial number of the camera along with other data such as shutter speed, flash settings etc. In increasing cases location data is also embedded in the images, particularly smartphones.