We’ve all struggled with those often unreadable security Captcha codes from time to time, but if some new research out of Stanford is any clue, machines might be better at it than us very soon. By using machine vision algorithms, the Stanford team was able to defeat 66% of Visa’s Captchas, 70% of those used by Blizzard, and about a quarter of Wikipedia’s Captchas. This may spell trouble for a multitude of other sites, as well.
Anyone that has ever used the internet has experienced the scourge that is spam bots. If you want to protect your favorite site from spammers, the folks at Croatia's Ruđer Bošković Institute have the answer. It is absolutely guaranteed to keep non-humans out. The site presents visitors with a bit of advanced math they must work out.
Google announced today that they acquired reCAPTCHA, the popular anti-bot service. reCAPTCHA offers a first line of defense against internet bots that exploit web forms with malicious intent. They are also widely known for their participation in helping to digitize print media formats. No surprises in why Google would be interested in such a project.
ReCAPTCHA advertises that they are currently helping to digitize old print versions of the New York Times. However, it’s not too far a leap to assume Google will be using reCAPTCHAs to bolster its own text scanning efforts (Google Books). Approximately 200 million captchas are solved by humans each day, and each one moves digitizing projects one step closer to improving the way computers recognize words on paper.
“Improving the availability and accessibility of all the information on the Internet is really important to us, so we're looking forward to advancing this technology with the reCAPTCHA team” said Luis von Ahn (co-founder of reCAPTCHA) and Will Cathcart (Google Product manager) on the official Google blog.
According to the patent application, made public on August 13, the Redmond-based goliath intends to replace ordinary CAPTCHAs with images, slogans, musical jingles, or other information related to a particular product. In order to gain access to content on the other side of the sponsored CAPTCHA, the user will have to type in the name of the featured product or other related text.
“Unlike so much web-based advertising that accompanies popular web portals such as search and news sites that users can easily ignore, here the user must actively engage in reading and understanding the content in the advertisement in the HIP (human interactive proof) challenge in order to identify the solution to the challenge," the patent filing reads.