Google’s reCAPTCHA is coming to Android smartphones and tablets

google recaptcha api android
If you’ve signed up for any new web services in the past few years, you’ve probably encountered a CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) or two. A CAPTCHA is a form that forces you to transcribe a blurry series of letters and digits. They’re challenge-response questions designed to prevent bots from hammering websites with nonsense data, and one of the most widely adopted — Google’s reCAPTCHA — displays as many as 100 million tests every day. And now, they’re coming to your smartphone.

On Thursday, Google announced the reCAPTCHA Android API, a CAPTCHA test adapted to smartphones. When it ships in the coming weeks as part of Google Play Services, the framework that updates and authenticates Google services, it will let app developers invoke the reCAPTCHA system in app sign-up forms, login pages, and more.

“With this API, reCAPTCHA can better tell human and bots apart to provide a streamlined user experience on mobile,” Google product manager Wie Liu wrote in a blog post. “It will use our newest […] reCAPTCHA technology, which runs risk analysis behind the scene and has enabled millions of human users to pass through with zero clicks everyday. Now mobile users can enjoy their apps without being interrupted, while still staying away from spam and abuse.”

The reCAPTCHA Android API builds on Google’s other recent improvements. In March, the search giant introduced “invisible reCAPTCHAs,” or CAPTCHAs that automatically disappear when a human user is detected. Form fillers that trip Google’s Advanced Risk Analysis algorithms will still have to solve the CAPTCHA test, but most users won’t see it at all.

That’s apparently thanks to “advanced analysis techniques” that consider a user’s “entire engagement” with CAPTCHA and “evaluate a broad range of cues.” It’s more than a one-time deal — Google says it “actively consider[s] a user’s engagement with the CAPTCHA — before, during, and after — to determine whether that user is a human.”

Google acquired reCAPTCHA from a team at Carnegie Mellon University’s main Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania campus, and made it free to use. That helped it grow into one of the largest CAPTCHA providers in the world — and the anti-spam test of choice for Facebook, TicketMaster, Twitter, 4chan, CNN.com, StumbleUpon, Craigslist, and tens of thousands of others.

In 2014, Google began to replace the reCAPTCHA system with a simpler alternative called No CAPTCHA ReCAPTCHA: A checkbox saying “I’m not a robot.” Using a system of clues such as cookies (small pieces of data sent from a website and stored on a user’s computer by the user’s web browser) and mouse movements, the improved reCAPTCHA was able to distinguish non-human users from bots almost instantaneously.

The reCAPTCHA Android API for Android is included with Google SafetyNet, which provides services like device attestation and safe browsing. It complements efforts like Google Play Protect, which monitors Android devices for potentially harmful applications, device encryption, and regular security updates.

Smart Home

Philips Hue users can activate their favorite routines through Google Home

Philips Hue expanded its Google Home integration through the Gentle Sleep and Wake routine. Just give Google the proper instructions are your lights will brighten or dim over half an hour.
Music

YouTube Red is now YouTube Premium. What's changed, and should you subscribe?

Thanks to Google, YouTube Red is now YouTube Premium. We explain what exactly a YouTube Premium subscription gets you, how much it costs, and break down if it's a good choice for you.
Mobile

The Pixel 3 range will soon be coming to T-Mobile's network

Google's latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are now official and we have all the details from the October 9 event in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
Smart Home

Google Home Hub smart display will reportedly be renamed the Google Nest Hub

Insiders reportedly familiar with Google's plans confirmed the Google Home Hub will be rebranded Google Nest Hub. Citing accidental leaks in the Google Store about the Nest Home Max, informed sources suggest a May 7 launch date.
Mobile

Sidestep banking fees with the nationwide launch of T-Mobile Money

T-Mobile has launched its Money banking service nationwide in the U.S., and it offers an extremely tempting set of features for everyone, including industry-leading interest rates, a powerful app, and no banking fees.
Mobile

The OnePlus 3 & 3T both receive an open beta for Android Pie

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.
Mobile

Selfies are now banned at China’s gigantic Aperture Spherical Telescope

You can't take a selfie with the world's largest single-dish radio telescope anymore, as the Chinese government has banned everything from smartphones to digital cameras in the surrounding 5-kilometer area.
Mobile

Charge and sync with the best Lightning cables for your iPhone or iPad

If you’re looking to replace a lightning cable, or in need of something a little longer or tougher, we’ve got you covered. Here are 10 of our favorite cables for the iPhone and other iOS devices.
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for April 2019

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Android

The dramatic BlackBerry Key2 Red Edition is now available in the U.S.

BlackBerry's Key2 is likely to be the best keyboard-equipped phone in 2019, with a modern look, some powerful specs, and totally revamped features. Here's everything you need to know about it.
Computing

Want to make calls across the internet for less? Try these great VOIP services

Voice over IP services are getting more and more popular, but there are still a few that stand above the pack. In this guide, we'll give you a few options for the best VOIP services for home and business users.
Mobile

The Best iPhone 7 battery cases to give your phone some extra juice

The iPhone 7 doesn't have terrible battery life, but you never know when you'll need to juice up on the go. To help, here are the best iPhone 7 battery cases that can keep your smartphone charged and ready for long-term use.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Samsung Galaxy Fold woes, zombie pigs, and more

Today's topics: Samsung Galaxy Fold, Facebook A.I. voice assistants, YouTube comes to Fire TV, facial recognition on airline flights, the SpaceX DART program, Yale's zombie pigs, and much more!
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10 update gives manual control of Bright Night mode

Samsung 2019 flagship smartphone lineup is here, and there aren't just two phones as usual — there are four. There's the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, as well as a new entry called the S10e, as well as the Galaxy S10 5G.