While GPS tagged photos are handy for always knowing where you took a photo, location data embedded in photos does have unsettling privacy and security implications. Should you be worried about the risk of people tracking you down via photos you post online?

Dear How-To Geek,

You guys need to help me out. My mom forwarded me this news clip which (I presume) another one of her friends with equally over-protective grandmotherly traits forwarded to her. Essentially it’s a clip from an NBC news segment highlighting how easy it is to extract the location from a photo. My mom is freaking out insisting that I’m putting my kids at risk because I put photos of them on Facebook and some abductor is going to come climb in their window.

Is this news clip just scare mongering to get people to watch the 10 o’clock news or is it something I actually need to be worried about? I’d really like to calm my mom down (and more sure I’m not actually posting my personal data like that all over the web).


Sorta Paranoid Now

Before we delve into the technical side of your issue, we feel compelled to address the social side. Yes, everyone is worried that something bad is going to happen to their kids (or grandkids), but realistically speaking, even if every photo we all posted online had our full home address printed right on the front like a watermark, the probability of anything bad happening to any of us (including our kids) is still nearly zero. The world just isn’t full of hordes of awful people we frequently allow ourselves to believe it is.

Even though the news does a good job making us feel like we live in a terrifying world filled with kid snatchers and stalkers, the actual crime stats paint a different story. Violent crime has been falling in the United States for decades and of the 800,000 or so missing children reported every year in the U.S., the vast majority of them are either teenage runaways or children taken by parents engaged in custody battles; only around 100 of them are your stereotypical stranger-snatches-child scenario.

That means stranger abductions account for only 0.000125% of all the under-18 missing person's cases in the U.S. and, based on Census data indicating approximately 74 million people aged birth-18 in the U.S., it means stranger abductions affect roughly 0.00000135% of the children. Yet no news producer has ever boosted their evening news rating by leading with “Tonight at 10, we’ll talk about how the chance of your child being abducted by a stranger is one hundred-thousandth of a percent higher than them getting struck by lightning!”

Now, while we hope you take the above information to heart,  we still understand that it’s good security practice to not put our personal information all over the web and to control who has access to the information we share; social side addressed, let’s look at the technical side of things and how you can control the flow of information.

Where Is The Location Data Stored?

Photos have EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) data. EXIF data is simply a standardized metadata set of non-visual data attached to photos; in analog terms think of it like the blank back of a photograph where you can write down information about the photo like the date, time, what camera you took the photo with, etc.

This data is, 99% of the time, extremely handy stuff. Thanks to the EXIF data, your photo organizer app (like Picasa or Lightroom) can tell you useful information about your photos such as shutter speed, focal length, whether or not the flash fired, etc. This information can be enormously useful if you’re learning photography and want to review what settings you used when taking specific photos.

It’s also the same data that allows for neat tricks like searching Flickr based on which camera took the photo and see what the most popular models are (as seen in the chart above). Professional photographers love EXIF data because it makes managing large photo collections significantly easier.

Some cameras and smartphones, but not all, can embed location data inside the EXIF. This is the 1% of the time where some people find the whole embedded EXIF data thing to be problematic. Sure it’s fun if you’re a professional photographer or serious hobbyist and you want to actively geotag your photos to appear on something like Flickr’s world map, but for most people the idea that the exact location (within 30 feet or so) where their photos were taken is linked to the photo is a little unsettling.

Here is where it pays to be aware of the capabilities of the equipment you’re shooting your photos with and to utilize tools to ensure that what your equipment is saying is happening, is actually happening.

How Do I Disable Geotagging?

The first step is to determine whether or not the camera you’re shooting with even embeds location data. Most stand-alone digital cameras, even expensive DSLRs, do not. GPS-tagging is still a new enough and novel enough technology that the cameras that feature it advertise it heavily. Nikon, for example, didn’t introduce a DSLR with built-in GPS tagging until October of 2013. DSLRs with geotagging remain so rare that most professionals who want it simply buy a small add-on device for their camera to provide it. GPS tagging is slightly more common in point-and-shoot cameras but still fairly rare. We recommend looking up the specific model camera you own and confirming whether or not it has GPS-tagging and how to disable it, if so.

Smartphones are, however, a completely different story. One of the big selling points for modern smartphones is the built-in GPS. That’s how your phone can give you accurate directions, tell you there is a Starbucks around the corner, and otherwise provide location-aware services. As such, it’s very common for photos taken with a smartphone to have embedded GPS-data because of the phones all ship with GPS chips right in them. Just because the phone has a GPS chip doesn’t mean you have to allow it to tag your photos.

If you’re sporting an iOS device, it’s easy to not only turn off geotagging but to limit which application can access location data on an application-by-application basis.

In iOS 7, navigate to Settings -> Privacy -> Location Services. There you’ll find a general Location Services toggle (which we recommend leaving on, as so many features of the iPhone/iPad rely on location), and then below it, as seen in the screenshot above, individual toggles for individual apps. If you toggle “Camera” off, then the camera will no longer have access to the location data and won’t embed it in the EXIF data of the photos.

For Android, there are two ways to approach the issue. You can go into the camera app itself and disable geotagging. The exact route to the setting varies based on the version of Android and the camera you have, but it’s typically (from within the camera app) Settings/Menu -> Location Icon (tap the icon to toggle the location services on or off):

The alternative method is similar to disabling Location Services on iOS. You can go into your phone’s general Settings -> Location Access and turn off “Access to my location”. Unfortunately, unlike iOS, in Android, it’s an all or nothing setting. Given how useful GPS data is for other applications (like Google Maps), we’d recommend sticking with toggling the geotagging from within the camera app.

How Can I Confirm The Photos Aren’t Geotagged?

It’s all well and good to adjust the settings in your camera or phone, but how can you be sure that your photos are actually free of GPS/location data? Smart geeks trust but verify. The easiest way to check without having to install any special software is to simply check the properties of the photo on your computer. We took two photos, one with geotagging turned on and with geotagging turned off, to demonstrate.

Here is what the geotagged photo looks like when the file properties are examined in Windows:

Here’s a photo taken moments later with the same camera, with geotagging toggled off:

The entire GPS data chunk is missing; the EXIF report jumps right from advanced camera data to basic file information.

Most photo organizers like Windows Live Photo Gallery, Picasa, Lightroom, even lightweight apps like Infranview (with a free plugin) will read EXIF metadata.

How Can I Remove Location Data?

If you’ve successfully turned off geotagging for future photos, you still have (assuming geotagging was previously enabled for your camera) all the old ones to deal with. If you plan on uploading or sharing older geotagged photos, it’s wise to strip the information out of them before sharing them.

You may have noticed, in the previous section, that the file property box in Windows has a little “Remove Properties and Personal Information” link at the bottom of the interface. If you’re planning on uploading photos, you can highlight all the photos you intend to upload, right click, select Properties, and then bulk strip the data using that “Remove Properties” link in the detailed file view.

You’ll be prompted with the following window:

Here you can opt to completely strip the files of their EXIF data; this first option will make a copy of the files with all the EXIF data removed. You can also keep the original files and selectively remove the metadata (this option permanently removes the selected data from the files with no backup copy). If you want to take advantage of the EXIF data reading in an application or online service, but you don’t want to share your location, you can select this option and strip out only the GPS data.

Unfortunately, there is no built-in easy EXIF data stripper in OSX or Linux. That said, ExifTool is a free cross-platform tool for Windows, OS X, and Linux that can batch process photos and modify/remove their EXIF data.

If all your geotagged photos are on your mobile device and you don’t want to put them all on your computer to work with them, there’s an additional option. PixelGarde is a free application available for both Windows and OS X as well as Android and iOS devices. Using the application it’s easy to strip EXIF data in bulk right from your device.

Ultimately, while the actual risk of harm befalling yourself or your family as a result of EXIF data is pretty small (especially if you’re only posting photos to social networks where you’re communicating with friends and family), it certainly doesn’t hurt to strip the data. It’s easy to turn the feature off in your camera or phone, it’s easy to remove it after the fact, and unless you’re a photographer who needs or wants to geotag photos for precision logging and display, most of us are content to stick with using our memories to recall the photos were in fact taken in our own backyard.

Have a pressing tech question? Shoot us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we’ll do our best to answer it.

Source: This article was published howtogeek.com By Jason Fitzpatrick

Categorized in Search Engine

Google Maps can help you avoid those embarrassing lost car moments

It happens to the best of us. You head to your local shopping mall, a crowded concert, or even just down the street to get your groceries. Everything is going according to plan until you head outside to leave and realize you have absolutely no idea where you left your car.

What if I told you that you could consistently escape all that using something you already have: your phone.

Google Maps has a built-in feature that allows you to save where you parked your car directly in the app. It’s something a number of different apps can do these days, but something Google has perfected in a way with the addition of one small feature: the ability to leave notes.

Why is a note important: If you’ve parked in a 14-story parking structure then being able to pinpoint the GPS location of your car isn’t going to do you a ton of good. Yes, you know your car is in this structure but is it on floor five or floor twelve? Chances are good you don’t remember. Also, given its size, you may or may not be able to see your car from the elevator door, meaning you’ll probably have to wander around on a few floors before you’ll actually find the one you want. Not exactly ideal.

Here’s how to make it work:

Save Your Spot

Once you’ve found that perfect parking space and turned your car off, tap the blue location dot on Google Maps (that dot that’s highlighting where you are) to save your location. A small menu will appear at the bottom of the page with “See places near you,” an opportunity to calibrate your blue dot compass, and an option for “Save your parking.” Tap on the parking saver. Now, when you look at Google Maps, there will be a huge letter P on your map where you parked your vehicle that you can navigate to just like any other destination within Maps. It doesn't get easier than that.

Add More Info

If you’re parking somewhere a little more complicated, say a multi-level parking garage or the like, you’re also given the option with “Save your parking” to add some details.  Later when you get back to the deck, those details can be invaluable. For instance, you might right “4th floor” or “ground level by the stairs.” If you’re parking on the street rather than a deck, you can also use this feature to keep track of how long you have left in a spot through a special built-in meter counter. When time starts to run out, your phone can let you know so you don’t end up with a costly ticket.

Even if you don't think you'll need the details later, it's always a good idea to save a few noteworthy things just in case, especially those parking meter details.

One of Many

Google Maps isn't the only way to save where you parked. With iOS 10, Apple built a similar feature into the iPhone, and other apps like Waze and Google Now on Android can help get the job done. Of the options; however, Google Map's solution is perhaps the most robust and the one that's going to help you find your car no matter where you managed to leave it.
Source: This article was published lifewire.com By Emily Price
Categorized in How to

Subscribe on YouTube

Google’s camera-equipped Street View cars have mapped and remapped millions of miles of road around the world, allowing anyone with an internet connection to enjoy a virtual drive through a plethora of countries.

While we might sometimes wish we could be there in person, some of those places are probably best viewed from the comfort of an armchair considering current pollution levels, especially in urban areas.

With constant exposure to foul air endangering the health of those who live with it, Google decided a couple of years ago to make more use of those Street View cars as they tour U.S. roads, fitting them with devices that gather pollution data.

This week the Silicon Valley, California-based company shared the first results of this ongoing project, which it’s conducting with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) using measuring equipment built by Aclima.

The new maps show data for the Californian city of Oakland, revealing levels of harmful pollutants such as nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, and black carbon released from cars, trucks, and other sources. High exposure to such pollutants is linked to heart attacks, strokes, and some cancers, Google wrote in a blog post.

As you’d expect with a Google map, you can zoom in to each street for more accurate data, and see how pollution levels change within very short distances, often block by block. Added notes (below) also explain why some parts of a city are worse than others when it comes to pollution.

Google says the data can be used locally by environmental groups and regulators to improve air quality, as well as by other cities that are currently trying to get a handle on their own pollution levels as they search for ways to clean up the environment. The overriding goal is to “understand how to live healthier lives, build smarter and more sustainable cities, and reduce climate-changing greenhouse gases in both urban and rural areas.” Scientists can already request access to the validated data.

The Street View cars have helped to gather one of the largest air quality datasets ever published, Google said, helping to make the invisible visible and offering an excellent opportunity for city planners to enact changes to improve environmental conditions for one and all.

Source: This article was published ca.news.yahoo.com By Trevor Mogg

Categorized in Search Engine

Despite the reach of the Internet and its growing complexity, no physical map of the Internet had been produced, until now. The outcome highlights the Internet-dependent nature of our world.

To understand the depth of the project it is important to appreciate what the Internet is. The Internet should not be thought of as synonymous with World Wide Web. The Internet is a physical entity, a massive network of networks made up of cables, servers and computers. The networking infrastructure connects millions of computers together globally. This creates a network in which any computer can communicate with any other computer.

The end-product is an Internet Atlas, which is the first detailed map of the Internet's structure worldwide. The map resembles, at first glance, a conventional map of a geographical territory; however the series of lines represent crucial pieces of the physical infrastructure of the Internet rather than geographical features or political boundaries. For most people these interactions are out-of-sight yet they are critical items of physical infrastructure ad without them the Internet as we understand it would not exist.

The map has been developed by a team put together by Professor Paul Barford and Ramakrishnan Durairajan. The scale of the project reveals the complexity of the connected world, showing aspects like submarine cables buried beneath the ocean floor, which are necessary to allow continents to communicate with each other. On land, the map reveals how buildings packed with servers engage in communications traffic exchange with different service providers, across Internet exchange points.

To construct the map millions of data items were inputted. One complexity was the lack of data about where most of the Internet is. While the researchers received some information from Internet providers they had to resort to cumulating local permits in various countries for works like laying cables.

There’s a point to it which goes beyond a mere intellectual exercise. The Internet remains under threat from low-grade hackers to major terrorist groups. Beyond this the Internet is under threat from natural forces, such as freak weather or extreme weather, as with hurricanes. Add to this other accidental events such as problems with rail tracks; this matters because considerable stretches of cabling runs under the rail network in many countries, including the U.S.

The map has recently been presented to the RSA Conference in San Francisco, which is a major cyber security conference. Commenting on this, Ramakrishnan Durairajan explains: "The question of 'how does mapping contribute to security?' is one of our fundamental concerns” By taking the map to the conference, the issue of Internet security received wider appreciation and coverage. These issues are global and require world governments to work together since Internet security is something of shared risk. In all likelihood to damage to one area impacts upon more than one entity, be that a networking hub or even multiple countries.

With the static map of the Internet produced, the researchers want to turn it into something interactive, to show how the Internet is functioning and evolving in real-time.

Source: This article was published on digitaljournal.com

Categorized in Internet Technology

Many of the effects of climate change are irreversible. Sea levels have been rising at a greater rate year after year, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates they could rise by another meter or more by the end of this century.

Categorized in Search Engine

Google Maps is an indispensable app for navigating big cities or just trying to get from A to B with minimal hassle. But there's a lot more to Google's mapping service than basic journey planning as those of you who have spent time exploring the app will know.

Features like street view and satellite imagery, you probably be familiar with. But did you know you could also use Google Maps to peek inside an active volcano? Read on for 7 things you (possibly) didn't know Google Maps could do.

Share your location with friends

Meeting friends in the city? You can share your location with others in real time to help them find you more easily. Using the Google Maps smartphone app, tap on the blue dot indicating your location or the menu icon in the search bar and tap 'share location'. You can then share your whereabouts with a contact for anywhere between 15 minutes to three days.

Time Travel

Google Maps has a Time Travel feature for desktop that lets you see how a location has changed over time. Just find a location that offers Street View, then click on the timestamp in the grey window in the upper left corner of the screen. Provided more than one Street View image exists of the place, you'll be able to see photos of the location from as far back as 2007.

Look inside an active volcano

Volcano spelunking isn't something to be taken lightly, but if you're really keen to peek into the earth's volatile core, Google Maps offers a way for you to do it without getting turned into a shish kebab. If you search for the Marum crater on Ambrym, which is an island in the Pacific coast east of Australia, you can get a 360-degree look at the broiling lava lake within.

Google Maps volcano

See everywhere you've been

If you have Google's Location History turned on and location settings set to high accuracy, you can use Google Maps to review all the places you've visited. In the Google Maps app, hit the menu button followed by 'Your timeline'. Tapping the calendar icon will let you look back on previous days' movements in unnerving detail, right down to the time you spent travelling and the shops/ bars/ cafes you visited.

If this creeps you out, you can delete individual journeys from your timeline or your entire journey history. Alternatively you can just turn of Location History in your Google settings.

Google Maps parked car

Find your parked car

A more recent addition to Google Maps is the ability to find your parked car. First, head into the Google app on Android and hit the menu button. Then go to Customise>Transport and set 'driving' as your main mode of transportation under where it says 'How do you usually commute?'

From then on, whenever you get out of your car just tap the blue dot on the Google Maps app that marks your location. From there you'll be able to mark your parking spot and even add information such as which floor your car is on in the parking garage and how long you have on the meter. A timer will then count down your remaining time and notify you when the meter expires.

Check the traffic

Google Maps is a handy tool for checking road conditions thanks to Google's real-time traffic data. You can do this by hitting the menu icon in either the smartphone app or web version of Google Maps and scrolling down to 'Traffic'. Selecting this will place a colour-coded overlay onto the map indicating how busy the roads are, as well as any ongoing roadworks, accidents or closures happening nearby.

Become a Local Guide

If you're willing to give feedback on the places you visit, you can earn points from Google that can get you invitations to exclusive events, contests and early access to new Google products and features. In the Google Maps app, hit the menu button and tap on 'Your contributions'. Here you can sign up to Google's rewards programme, provided you're aged 18 or over.

To earn points you simply need to provide info on the places you visit, for example verifying contact info, opening hours, whether a place is wheelchair accessible, serves good cocktails and so on. Each piece of feedback you leave for a place earns you one point; you need 500 or more to become a 'Google Insider' and get to test new products before they're publicly released.

Author : Owen

Source : Yahoo.com

Categorized in Search Engine

You don’t need to worry anymore about internet at the airport. A brilliant single map can ease your pain.

Travel blogger Anil Polat perhaps knows the pain of wheeling a suitcase around an airport, hunting for Wi-Fi.

To combat this nightmare, he’s devised an interactive, regularly updated map of Wi-Fi passwords in airports around the world.




Simply click on the plane that corresponds with the airport you’re going to, and the map will tell you if there’s Wi-Fi there and what’s its password. ENJOY

Author: Azhar Khan
Source: http://arynews.tv/en/this-map-tells-you-wi-fi-passwords-for-airports-around-the-world

Categorized in Others

Apple Maps is picking up an invaluable integration for electric vehicle drivers: ChargePoint integration.

While electric cars are slowly working their way towards affordability, Apple Maps is giving the EV owners a helping hand with the integration of ChargePoint's stations. ChargePoint offers more than 30,000 charging stations around the world, and the integration into Apple Maps is literally putting them on the map with EV charging station badges. Apple Maps users can tap one of those icons for directions and station info like hours of operation and pricing (with Apple Pay support), or ask Siri "where's the closest charging station?" for directions.

The vast majority of ChargePoint's network consists of Level 1 and Level 2 chargers using the J1772 connector standard. The charging rate for such stations varies widely, but is generally between 3- and 15-miles-per-hour of charging. Of the 31,000 ChargePoint stations, roughly 400 are DC fast charge stations, offering SAE Combo or CHAdeMO connectors at 50KW for up to 100 miles of range per hour of charging — so long as you have a compatible car.

Tesla, the leading EV maker, uses a smaller proprietary connector, but includes an adapter for J1772 chargers with every car and sells an adapter for use with CHAdeMO stations.

While ChargePoint is the largest commercial EV charging network, they're not the only EV charging game in town. Like with most things in tech, there's a community-driven alternative: PlugShare. This option aggregates more than 120,000 chargers globally from a wide variety of networks, including ChargePoint, Tesla, and even chargers installed for businesses and homes that are making them available for public use.

It's still nice to see EV chargers getting included in Apple Maps — Tesla and Bolt and Leaf owners will be pleased to know if there's a charge nearby.

Source : http://www.imore.com/


Categorized in Internet Technology

How many times do we start typing a search query on Google, only to have the work made easy thanks to the search engine’s auto-complete feature. But have you every wondered what makes Google suggest what it does? How does it manage to read our minds… or not!

Well, according to the most-voted answer to the same question on Quora, “Google Autocomplete uses a combination of factors related to the last 10,000 searches, in your geographical location, your own bookmarks, most visited sites from your web history and the behavior/suggestions of your contacts to predict and reflect trends related to you personally provided that you are logged in or use a GPS enabled browser or mobile device.” (And this was answered by a Google advocate and beta tester, in case you’re wondering.)

So, effectively, how Google completes your query is a reflection of what is being most searched with those words and in that region. Which is what makes this Reddit India post extremely fascinating. An India map – made by a Reddit user – shows what Google auto-complete shows if one were to type “When will” and then insert the name of the capital of an Indian state — and the results are most fascinating.

Apparently in Delhi, people are most curious about university results (that seems like a nice thing to be concerned about), Mumbai people want to know when the city will sink (and THAT is quite alarming), Chennai is fun and wants to know when the Super Kings will return, while most other parts of India is concerned about monsoons. What is troubling, though, is that all of the north-eastern capitals haven’t logged anything at all. Suggesting a dearth of search there – or maybe it suggests that people just have a varied search pattern.india-auto-complete_759-full.jpg

To see if this map was accurate, we actually tried the search on Google, and there was no denying the search pattern was bang on. Go try it for yourself!

Source : indianexpress

Categorized in Internet Technology


This week in search, we saw even more signals of a massive Google update, both seem not to be related to Penguin. Although, Google does have a date in mind on when to launch Penguin 4.0. Google seems to have dropped how often they show the image search box in the search results. Google will be updating their JavaScript recommendations in the upcoming weeks. Google now shows the reviewers name next to the review snippets. Google added new schema and structured markup for courses. Google is showing image thumbnails in the mobile search results. Google is testing a whiter desktop search look. Google added helpful buttons to local reviews. Google sometimes hides the full address in the maps results. Google may show a local map pack at the bottom of the search results. Google AdWords keyword planner tool is changing your keywords. Google had another big bug with the keyword planner tool this week, they fixed it days later. Google Adwords added a new way to access multiple accounts. Google AdWords extended the expanded text ads deadline. Google is dropping support for the campaign experiments feature in AdWords. That was this week in search at theSearch Engine Roundtable.

Make sure to subscribe to our video feed or subscribe directly on iTunes to be notified of these updates and download the video in the background. Here is the YouTube version of the feed:

For the original iTunes version, click here.

Search Topics of Discussion:

Please do subscribe via iTunes or on your favorite RSS reader. Don't forget to comment below with the right answer and good luck!


Source : https://www.seroundtable.com/video-09-16-2016-22709.html


Categorized in Search Engine
Page 1 of 2


World's leading professional association of Internet Research Specialists - We deliver Knowledge, Education, Training, and Certification in the field of Professional Online Research. The AOFIRS is considered a major contributor in improving Web Search Skills and recognizes Online Research work as a full-time occupation for those that use the Internet as their primary source of information.

Get Exclusive Research Tips in Your Inbox

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.