Google is about to roll out an updated version of the company's captcha protection that tries to determine whether a connection was made by a user or Mr. Roboto.
Captchas are designed to separate between humans and bots. While sites may want to allow entrance to all human visitors, they may not be as forthcoming when it comes to bots.
Too many bot connections may impact a server's responsiveness negatively. Additionally, bots are often used for nefarious activities such as bulk registration of accounts, spam, scraping, and other activities with negative connotations.
Google's recaptcha captcha system is widely used on the Internet. The system is already one step ahead of many other solutions, as you may only have to click the "I'm not a robot" box to pass the captcha and enter the site.
You may get to solve a captcha or multiple ones if the algorithm used determines that you may not be human however.
This can be a really frustrating experience, especially if you use Tor or are connected to a virtual private network (vpn). The reason for this is that these services are not only used by regular users but also by spammers who get the IP addresses flagged.
While captchas are solvable most of the time, you may run into situations where the captcha is broken.
The new invisible captcha that Google showcases here goes a step further. Instead of having to click a box, users may not have to do a thing to gain entrance to a site that uses the new invisible recaptcha technology.
In the best case, access is granted without users doing anything. The algorithm determines that the user is human and grants access directly. The system falls back to captcha solving if the algorithm determines that a user may not be human.
Webmasters who use recaptcha on their properties may sign up already for invisible captcha to deploy it before it becomes available to the public.
All they need to do in best case is to replace the old code with the new on their web properties to make use of the new system.
Improvements to the detection of humans are always welcome. This one means that you may not even see a captcha if the algorithm determined that you are human in the background. That's a step in the right direction.
It seems likely however that this won't change much for Tor or VPN users. (via Caschy)
Now You: What's your captcha experience so far?
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.