Google Might Ditch CAPTCHA One Day

googlecaptchaYou know the feeling: you're trying to sign into Google on a non-regular machine, Google decides it needs to throw a CAPTCHA at you for security, and the image is completely unreadable. Is that annoyance ever going to disappear?

I ran into just this annoyance recently, when Google threw the pictured CAPTCHA (and no, I never did find out what the third letter was) up (and on my own PC, to add insult to injury). Mildly annoyed, I fired off a media query to the Big G to ask if it had any plans to replace its CAPTCHA system with one that, you know, worked. Here's what I got told in reply:

As you can imagine, we are trying to strike a balance between things that are easier for humans but still difficult for machines to break — obviously a CAPTCHA that is easy for a human to read will also likely be relatively easy for a bot to read. We do carry out internal and external testing to see how users are responding to them as we tweak them, which gives us data on which ones are working best for users, and while we do think CAPTCHAs are still effective (generally speaking humans are many times more accurate than the best bots we can detect) we're also looking at more options, as we think abuse is only going to continue.

OK, it's not a "we'll have a fabulous new solution next Tuesday" answer, but at least it's a glimmer of hope.


Comments

    So many forms of CAPTCHA have been broken, it's hard to believe anyone bothers using them anymore. In the case of Google (or indeed any site) maybe using apersonal security question could work. You know the ones - mother's maiden name, etc. Of course, a lot of these pre-canned questions could be guessed, so having a personalised security question where you define your own question & answer could be an option.

    Already been solved:

    http://sourceforge.net/projects/humanauth/

    if they are going to use Captcha, why not put it to good use?

    http://recaptcha.net/

    it looks like bers to me

    A while back I saw a captcha which posed a simple mathematcial problem, such as "1 plus two" or "half of four".
    This text didn't need to be too distorted and added an extra layer of complexity. I guess if you can get a 'bot to read captcha text then you could probably get it to do simple maths though, eh?

    Google's captchas are too hard to read... I took me 7 tries to sign up for an account. I agree with Adam, use ReCAPCHA.

    I agree. looks like bers

    and google just bought recaptcha so....

    http://mashable.com/2009/09/16/google-acquires-recaptcha/

    one would expect it will change soon.

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