Human? Click This Box – Google’s No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA

Business / Tech
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Image Courtesy of TechRepublic

Last time you signed for an account for nearly anything online, you were probably faced with the dreaded reCAPTCHA widget:  A box featuring two (or sometimes more!) wiggly, obscured, scrambled looking words that ostensibly could confirm whether the entity typing these words was a human or a machine.  Over time, as humans got better at training non-humans to complete these tests, the reCAPTCHA’s got more and more ridiculous.  Given time and the appropriate set of rules, bots can learn to break most any type of test to determine ones humanity.  So Google has decided to replace all of the funky reCAPTCHA text entering and scrambled letters for a simple check box – the no CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA.

Image Courtesy of Wired

Image Courtesy of Wired

You might be asking yourself – “how will a simple check box be able to determine that I am, in fact, a human?” There’s obviously more to it than the actual check in the box, though even the way in which your mouse pointer approaches the box will be part of the vetting process.  Using this data, as well as other known quantities, such as IP addresses and Cookies, Google hopes to weed out bots by examining data that makes us decidedly human.

Most of the really interesting bits have been kept under wraps, and for good reason.  If a bot programmer knows the rules, they can more easily find ways to break them. If the check box and other under-the-hood checks don’t pass muster, you’ll still be prompted with the squiggly words we all know and loathe on your desktop computer.

Wired took a hard look at the new system, and reported that early tests have been quite positive:

In tests during the past week on sites that use Google’s captcha, however, it’s verified most human users without that backup. About 60 percent of WordPress users and 80 percent of users at video game sales site Humble Bundle got past the captcha with only the checkbox.

Image Courtesy of Wired

Image Courtesy of Wired

Through testing and fine tuning of the processes, these numbers should continue to increase.

Google has gone a slightly different direction on mobile, choosing a picture-based model instead of the check box.  You’ll be shown an image – a cat in the example image – along with a series of other photos and you’ll be asked to choose the image or images that match.

Google has released a video showing off the new process too.



Wired has a great write-up of the whole process at the source link below.

  Source: Wired
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