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Google Has Built A New and Better CAPTCHA System

by Brandon Russell | December 3, 2014December 3, 2014 3:15 pm PDT

Nobody, and I mean nobody, likes CAPTCHAs. They’re those annoying numbers and letters you have to type in before being able to perform an action, such as downloading a file. Sure, they protect your favorite websites from spam and abuse. But the problem is the letter and number combinations are often illegible, so it’s more of a guessing game than anything. I don’t know how many times I’ve been told what I entered is incorrect. Too many to count.

Google is simplifying the reCAPTCHA experience with a new “No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA” alternative, and it looks way better than the existing solution. With the new API, you’ll be able to verify you’re not a robot without having to solve a CAPTCHA—simply click the little box and you’re good to go. As the video explains, the system uses an Advanced Risk Analysis engine to separate robots from your grandma. Google expands further.

There is a high degree of sophistication behind that modest checkbox. CAPTCHAs have long relied on the inability of robots to solve distorted text. However, our research recently showed that today’s Artificial Intelligence technology can solve even the most difficult variant of distorted text at 99.8% accuracy. Thus distorted text, on its own, is no longer a dependable test.

While the new system is designed to make it easier than ever to prove you’re human, there will be times when you’re required to deal with the old CAPTCHA setup. The Advanced Risk Analysis backend considers a user’s entire engagement with the CAPTCHA, and in instances when it can’t confidently predict whether a user is a human or spam, it’ll use the older system. Websites are free to adopt the new system, and Google says that the “NO CAPTCHA reCAPTCHAs” change is already producing “great results.”

If that means less irritating numbers and letters, then I’m all for it.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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