I was reading through my feeds today and a story on Droid Life cropped up about some pictures appearing on Picasa that were tagged as being taken by a Droid RAZR and the Galaxy Nexus. Both phones are all but confirmed, with tons of evidence throughout the web, but these pics are being labeled as evidence as the phone being out real soon now. They may actually be out, but posting pictures that purportedly came from the devices is hardly evidence.
Why do I say that? I will show you.
The above picture was taken with my Droid 2. Yeah it’s a little fuzzy, but bear with me. Since it was taken with my phone, the EXIF or Exchangeable Image File Interchange format data that is attached to this .JPG says it was taken with a Droid 2; it also contains the GPS coordinates of where I took the picture.
All of this information is editable by many free programs. I found one called EXIF Pilot. With this program, I modified the same image twice. In each case, I made it look like the picture was taken with a device that does not exist. One is the iPhone 6 and the other is the Motorola Droid RAZRX.
If you download the picture, right-click on the image’s icon, and then choose Properties on any recent version of Windows, you will discover that the device is now reported as an “iPhone 6″ in the “Details” tab.
Now you COULD recognize some of the specs on this and realize that they are the same as the pic I saw on the Droid 2, but most the stories I have run across don’t bother to look too much at anything other than the manufacturer or the device’s name, before they started drooling over some of the “specs”. There was even an image that reportedly came from the iPhone 5 — all “confirmed” by EXIF data. This is bogus and should NEVER be used as an indicator of a pending release. Doing so is rampant speculation at best.
Here’s the same pic again; now I have changed the data to say that it was taken by the magical and non-existent Motorola Droid RAZRX.
Since this data is freely editable, we shouldn’t get excited when we see stories that indicate that pictures of photos taken by the “Galaxy Nexus” or any other device — as long as it is possible to freely change or add EXIF data to any JPG with freely available programs.
Above is a screenshot of the program I used to alter the EXIF data, EXIF Pilot.
If anyone starts to say, “hey, there are pictures online that came from some [mythical unreleased device]“, you can point them right to this story, and say,” I will believe it when I see it.”