I hate CAPTCHAs, I really do. Those "verify that you are really a human and not a bot" widgets that Internet users encounter regularly when they sign up for new services, fill out comment forms or perform other activities on the Internet.
The main issue that I have with the whole CAPTCHA technology is that they slow me down considerable. Not only do I have to decipher characters, it happens that you enter the wrong characters because the CAPTCHA is not clear enough.
Plus, I know that I'm human which makes it seem ridiculous to prove that I'm.
Google announced today the launch of reCAPTCHA, a new take on verification systems on the Internet. Good news is that the company has done away with the identification and entering of characters for the most part.
All you need to do is check a box to pass the verification and proceed with whatever you are doing. The majority of users should be able to pass the test this way which speeds things up considerably for them.
The script does a risk analysis in the background and if it drops below a certain percentage, asks the user to still fill out text to proceed.
This works similar to regular CAPTCHAs on today's Internet. An image is displayed with characters on it that you need to enter to proceed. It is possible to refresh the image to get new characters or listen to the characters being pronounced instead.
The API that Google makes available is flexible. It is for instance possible to display different verification types optimized for mobile users. You could be asked to select all images that match the image shown to you for example which may be easier to do than having to enter characters on your mobile device.
Google has created the reCAPTCHA API which webmasters and businesses can implement. Select third-parties, WordPress or Snapchat for example, have tested the new reCAPTCHA already and according to Google, have seen great results.
A plugin is already available for self-hosted WordPress blogs to add reCAPTCHA to the comment and registration process.
I'm all for improvements in the field as I find CAPTCHA verification widgets annoying, and especially so on sites that don't really require them at all.
I have left registration or commenting processes on numerous sites because of CAPTCHA widgets, for instance if it did not work right or if it was simply to difficult to get right.
While Google's efforts are commendable, it won't resolve the CAPTCHA issue on today's Internet in the near future. It is good to see that popular services are making use of it though.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.