Google's reCAPTCHA improves the CAPTCHA verification process

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 3, 2014
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Companies, Google

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.

Closing Words

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.

Now You: What is your take on CAPTCHAs?

Google's reCAPTCHA improves the CAPTCHA verification process
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Google's reCAPTCHA improves the CAPTCHA verification process
Google announced reCAPTCHA today, a new API that website owners and businesses can make use of to improve user verifications.

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  1. The Dark Lady said on July 9, 2023 at 11:19 am

    Martin, I would appreciate that you do not censor this post, as it’s informative writing.

    Onur, there is a misleading statement “[…] GIFs are animated images …”. No, obviously you don’t seem to have take much notice of what you were told back in March regarding; Graphics Interchange Format (GIF).

    For example, (if you had read my replies within that thread, you might have learnt something useful). I even mentioned, “GIF intrinsically supports animated images (GIF89a)”.

    You linked to said article, [Related: …] within this article, but have somehow failed to take onboard what support you were given by several more knowledgeable people.

    If you used AI to help write this article, it has failed miserably.

  2. KeZa said on August 17, 2023 at 5:58 pm

    AI is stupid, and it will not get any better if we really know how this all works. Prove me wrong..

  3. Database failure said on August 18, 2023 at 5:21 pm

    Martin, [#comment-4569908] is only meant to be in: []. Whereas it appears duplicated in several recent random low-quality non relevant articles.

    Obviously it [#comment-4569908] was posted: 9 July 2023. Long before this thread even existed… your database is falling over. Those comments are supposed to have unique ID values. It shouldn’t be possible to duplicate the post ID, if the database had referential integrity.

  4. Howard Pearce said on August 25, 2023 at 12:24 pm

    Don’t tell me!

    Ghacks wants the state to step in for STATE-MANDATED associations to save jobs!!!

    Bring in the dictatorship!!!

    And screw Rreedom of Association – too radical for Ghacks maybe

  5. Howard Allan Pearce said on September 7, 2023 at 9:13 am

    GateKeeper ?

    That’s called “appointing” businesses to do the state’s dirty work!!!!!

    But the article says itself that those appointed were not happy – implying they had not choice!!!!!!

  6. owl said on September 7, 2023 at 9:50 am

    @The Dark Lady,
    @Database failure,
    @Howard Pearce,
    @Howard Allan Pearce,

    Note: I replaced the quoted URI scheme: https:// with “>>” and posted.

    The current is owned by “Softonic International S.A.” (sold by Martin in October 2019), and due to the fate of M&A, has changed in quality.
    Many Authors of bloggers and advertisers certified by Softonic have joined the site, and the site is full of articles aimed at advertising and clickbait.
    As it stands, except for articles by Martin Brinkmann, Mike Turcotte, and Ashwin, they are low quality, unhelpful, and even vicious. It is better not to read those articles.
    How to display only articles by a specific author:
    Added line to My filters in uBlock Origin:,.home-posts,.home-category-post:not(:has-text(/Martin Brinkmann|Mike Turcotte|Ashwin/))

    By the way, if you use an RSS reader, you can track exactly where your comments are (I’m an iPad user, so I use “Feedly Classic”, but for Windows I prefer the desktop app “RSS Guard”).
    RSS Guard: Feed reader which supports RSS/ATOM/JSON and many web-based feed services.

  7. Anonymous said on September 14, 2023 at 6:41 pm

    We all live in digital surveillance glass houses under scrutiny of evil people because of people like Musk. It’s only fair that he takes his turn.

  8. Anonymous said on September 18, 2023 at 1:31 pm

    “Operating systems will be required to let the user choose the browser, virtual assistant and search engine of their choice. Microsoft cannot force users to use Bing or Edge. Apple will have to open up its iOS operating system to allow third-party app stores, aka allow sideloading of apps. Google, on the other hand, will need to provide users with the ability to uninstall preloaded apps (bloatware) from Android devices. Online services will need to allow users to unsubscribe from their platform easily. Gatekeepers need to provide interoperability with third-parties that offer similar services.”

    Wonderful ! Let’s hope they’ll comply with that law more than they are doing with the GDPR.

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