Instead of tasking users with deciphering distorted text, Google's new CAPTCHA application programming interface merely asks users to state their humanity or admit they are in fact robots.
Google is calling the new API "No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA," and calls it the next step in the evolution of the "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart." In introducing the reCAPTCHA, the search engine company says the new system lets people pass through web portals "without ever seeing a captcha."
"Using an advanced risk analysis engine, the new reCAPTCHA effectively separates out humans from bots -- and is even more secure," states a Google representative. "No CAPTCHA means no frustration. People get to where they're going faster and everyone stays happy, except bots."
Google says it was compelled to improve its CAPTCHA API after finding out bots could read even the most distorted of text with an accuracy of up to 99.8 percent. That fact, compounded by the frustration the warped riddles invoked in flesh-and-bone entities, caused Google to bake its Advanced Risk Analysis system into the back end of reCAPTCHA.
The risk analysis system accounts for the user's engagement with the CAPTCHA before, during and after the fact. Now, in most cases, users can declare their humanity by simply checking a box labeled "I'm not a robot."
"In cases when the risk analysis engine can't confidently predict whether a user is a human or an abusive agent, it will prompt a CAPTCHA to elicit more cues, increasing the number of security checkpoints to confirm the user is valid," Vinay Shet, reCAPTCHA product manager, stated in a blog post.
ReCAPTCHA moves to an image-recognition test if a robot's actions are too humanlike or a person's response is suspiciously botlike. The image test presents users with a picture and tasks him or her with selecting similar imagery from a small collection of photos.
"Humans, we'll continue our work to keep the Internet safe and easy to use. Abusive bots and scripts, it'll only get worse -- sorry we're (still) not sorry," states Shet.
For many users, ads are more of nuisance than CAPTCHAs. While Google is making CAPTCHAs less frustrating, the search engine company is also experimenting with a premium system for shielding users from ads.
Google Contributor offers web users the opportunity to browse a website without encountering ads, though the service will come at a monthly price, likely somewhere between $1 to $3.