Have you ever been frustrated when trying to sign up for something on a site, finding the CAPTHA impossible to read and repeatedly telling you that you're wrong and are probably a robot? Of course you have, you've used the internet before. Google has too, which is why it's been working on a new scheme that does away with the traditional frustrations of the system, instead offering a simple check box that gives it all the information it needs to figure out that you're human.
The whole point of CAPTCHA is to prevent autonomous programs from signing up to sites and other services, but at this stage, some software is able to figure out that impossible to read text with an accuracy rate of 99.8 per centt, which is likely more accurate than the average human. With that in mind, Google has created a system that is simultaneously harder for robots to fool and easier for humans to use.
It's called No CAPTCHA re-CAPTCHA and all it is, is a simple check box. You might think that simply clicking the box would be a simple task and it is, for us, but for a robot it's much harder to do it in a manner that's consistent with a human's reactions. Understandably, Google doesn't go into much detail about the metrics it's looking at to determine humanity, but it does admit that it looks at a user's engagement with the system before, during and after clicking the box.
In most instances, humans are able to do so and move on without delay. However, should the system feel uncertain about the results of the quick test, a further one may be administered. That's when you might see the traditional distorted text appear as a back up, or one of Google's new experiments, like asking you what pictures a certain animal might relate to.
Even then though, Google judges your reactions, not just what you click on, making it much harder for programmers to fake a real user.
Those that want to try out the new API on their sites are free to do so. Just head to the re-CAPTCHA site to learn more.
KitGuru Says: Facebook needs this ASAP. Poor old Carl on the KG Facebook spends half his day deleting spam comments.