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Google launches simplified security system – Good riddance CAPTCHA your incensing inconvenience will live long in the memory
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Google launches simplified security system – Good riddance CAPTCHA your incensing inconvenience will live long in the memory

by Ben Wittams-Smith5th December 2014

In the battle of wits Google is constantly contesting with robots & crawlers hell-bent on providing sneaks with unfairly gained insights into human behaviour, the search mammoth has all the cards at the table and has proven once again it is not afraid to shuffle the deck.

Gone is the all too familiar CAPTCHA box along with the rankling inconvenience which accompanies its every appearance, no longer will users have to suffer the irritation involved in inputting the meaningless words Google necessitates them to in order to reach their page of choice, no more will users suffer the teeth-grinding irascibility gradually mounting within them following each incorrect spelling of CAPTCHA’s barely legible scrawl.

Instead, all users will have to do is simply check a box which asks them whether they are a human or not. Simple, but before we deconstruct the theory behind the box, let’s have a look at the burgeoning influence of robots.

What’s the big deal about these robots?

As artificial intelligence has been enriched in accordance with technology’s meteoric evolutionary trajectory, robots have become increasingly adept at deciphering the text which Google used as the determining factor in the discerning of humans from robots. Even, CAPTCHA’s slightly amended successor, ReCAPTCHA, which presented users with one computer-friendly word and a handwritten word from an old source unable to be comprehended by computers – such as a dated newspaper cutting or 19th century document, with the recurring human interpretation of this word resolving how it was to be digitally archived – has been compromised, as highlighted by Google’s own assertion that robots can now decrypt these words with over a 99% accuracy.

Robots trawl across the net rooting through page after page in search of information that will aid hopeful sellers in their product pricing and/or analysis of user behaviour.

Essentially, these robots will compete with users for the best prices for anything ranging from holidays to concert prices to electronics. Due to their hyper efficiency, if allowed to run free, the end result will always be worse value for consumers who will have to seek their products from the third parties deploying the robots.

Google’s combatting move

Termed ‘No Captcha ReCaptcha’, the wonderfully convenient checkbox users simply have to tick to prove their human is the result of Google’s newly developed software which focusses on user engagement.

“For years, we’ve prompted users to confirm they aren’t robots by asking them to read distorted text and type it into a box,” said Vinay Shet, Google product manager.

“But, we figured it would be easier to just directly ask our users whether or not they are robots – so, we did!”

The software assesses the particulars of user behaviour towards CAPTCHA forms such as clicking patterns, the tempo of their typing, and the time taken to fill out forms. In essence, the very physical nature of human behaviour is what computers will find most hard to mirror, and as such that is what google will be analysing when users click through on their forms.

If a user shows abnormal or unexpected behaviour when answering that they aren’t a robot, then they will be shown an image and will have to identify which of the 9 other images it is shown match the first one in order to gain access.

“In this version of the Captcha challenge, you’re asked to select all of the images that correspond with the clue,” explained Shet.

“It’s much easier to tap photos of cats or turkeys than to tediously type a line of distorted text on your phone.”

So in a digital age whereby search engines, and thus webmasters, are becoming progressively concerned with the quality of experience a site provides its user with, it follows that Google’s new software focussed on amending the security issues faced by old-school CAPTCHA is reflexively informed by user behaviour whilst also enhancing user’s convenience in accessing their pages of choice.

Hats of Google.

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About The Author
Ben Wittams-Smith
Ben Wittams-Smith is a content writer for Just SEO and the Company Director of JSEO LTD. As a specialist in SEO, SEM and digital marketing, Ben regularly contributes content and provides analytic insight in these areas.

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