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Robots have learned to read, so Google has killed CAPTCHAs

google killed the captcha no
Image used with permission by copyright holder
For years, Google has used the simple system of distorted text CAPTCHAs to determine whether users were humans or robots. Robots used to be unable to decipher distorted text, so they always failed the CAPTCHA test. Now it seems that robots have figured out the CAPTCHAs secrets, so in order to keep your data secure and make sure robots don’t break the Internet, Google is introducing No-CAPTCHA, a new security measure that should make it easier for humans to order things online, while also improving overall security.

The No-CAPTCHA will simply ask users whether or not they are robots. All you have to do is place a check mark in the box next to the words, “I am not a robot.” Sometimes a popup will come up asking for more information to confirm that you are not a malicious script or robot, so you may be prompted to decipher distorted text or match pictures of kittens to prove that you’re human.

It may sound very simple, but Google says No-CAPTCHA is anything but easy. Google will still use the existing CAPTCHA framework to ensure that online purchases and other data sensitive actions are secure. The risk analysis system of each website will determine how many steps you must go through to prove that you are human. Typically, you’ll only have to pass two tests at most.

The No-CAPTCHA is also meant to be more mobile friendly, so instead of having to read scrambled text on your phone’s small screen, you’ll be able to match pictures instead. For example, you may be prompted with a picture of a kitten and be asked to select all the other pictures on the page that show the same animal.

Google is already rolling out the API to websites, including  Snapchat, WordPress, Humble Bundle, and several others. These sites are already seeing a huge improvement in user interactions with the No-CAPTCHA system. It seems to be helping users to get past security barriers faster and with less frustration.

(If you’re wondering what CAPTCHA stands for, it’s a “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.”)

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Malarie Gokey
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As DT's Mobile Editor, Malarie runs the Mobile and Wearables sections, which cover smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and…
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