Google updates reCAPTCHA so that you can actually read them


How many times have you been asked on the internet to prove that you are a human, prompted to retype letters or numbers, only to be unable to decipher them?

This is a common practice on the internet and the technology used to make sure you are not a robot is called reCAPTCHA, and up until now has probably caused a fair amount of annoyance.

That is why Google has updated it with the goal of making sure the text is easy to read, while still being able to know whether someone is actually a person. The product manager for reCAPTCHA at Google is Vinay Shet, and he elaborated  more about the updated system in a blog.

“The updated system uses advanced risk analysis techniques, actively considering the user’s entire engagement with the CAPTCHA, before, during and after they interact with it. That  means that today the distorted letters serve less as a test of humanity and more as a medium of engagement to elicit a broad range of cues that characterize humans and bots,” he wrote.

He continues on with, “as a part of this, we’ve recently released an update that creates different classes of CAPTCHAs for different kinds of users. This multifaceted approach allows us to determine whether a potential user is actually a human or not, and serve our legitimate users CAPTCHAs that most of them will find easy to solve. Bots, on the other hand, will see CAPTCHAs that are considerably more difficult and designed to stop them from getting through.”

[via arstechnica]

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  • kevbo



    This never occurred to me before, I wasn’t even sure what you were talking about until I clicked on the link. A real eye-opener for me.

  • Coyote
  • Louis

    [@Coyote] That’s quite sharp of you to pick up on that possibility !

    It makes perfect sense, let’s hope we’ve not given them the idea hehe.

    But more seriously : What other things can they also be verifying that we just haven’t thought about, using this convenient method … ?

  • Seamus McSeamus

    [@Coyote] I hadn’t thought about that, but you may be on to something. All the new ones I’ve seen have looked a lot like house numbers.

  • James

    When’s this going to take effect? I just checked my cat talk forum, and the reCaptcha is still the old one.

  • Coyote

    I’m glad someone finally posted about these because I have a theory.

    The image of the numbers (the 8001 in the example pic) appear to be house numbers. Does anyone else think this is just a easy way for google to update their maps database with verified postal numbers?