That annoying thing at the end of online forms that left all of us sighing at the ceiling is finally going to disappear. Google has heard our cries and is now rolling out ‘No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA’ – the answer to our prayers. If you’ve ever filled out an online form, be it subscribing to a newsletter or paying your bills, chances are you’ve fallen victim to a CAPTCHA. In the world of long titles, this means ‘Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart’.
We’ll talk about where it came from below, but the important part is that we’re saying goodbye.
What Is reCAPTCHA and Why We Won’t Miss It.
Not sure what I’m on about? Basically, web developers created a plugin that enabled the effective blocking of spam bots to ensure customers were human. This may sound purely positive, but issues arose when users began spending a lot of extra time trying to decipher squiggly lines in a box instead of actually completing forms.
Originally, criticism of CAPTCHA came from users with disabilities who found some of the tests hard or even impossible to pass, but the dissenters steadily grew to encompass most of us that spend any amount of time on a computer.
It wasn’t just users who disliked the process either – business owners and website managers felt aggrieved at the potential loss of clients who got fed up with proving they were human.
So Whose Fault Is It?
CAPTCHA is a term for the actual process, but reCAPTCHA – Google’s version – is the variant we’ve all come to know. There has been much debate about who invented the original idea of a CAPTCHA, but the system acquired by the technology giant in 2009 was developed by a team at Carnegie Mellon University (Luis von Ahn, Ben Maurer, Colin McMillen, David Abraham and Manual Blum).
What About The Positives?
No one can deny that despite all this, reCAPTCHA certainly has a good side. Without the programme, software developed to trick computers into giving out information or gifting easy access to email lists would no doubt have far greater success, and it is for this reason that Google and indeed web developers persist with the technology.
Thankfully though, Google has been working on a better model with a new API (Application Programming Interface) to calm us all down and get us through those forms quicker.
What is No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA?
Last week, Google let us know about the update:
On websites using this new API, a significant number of users will be able to securely and easily verify they’re human without actually having to solve a CAPTCHA. Instead, with just a single click, they’ll confirm they are not a robot.
No CAPTCHA will ask you if you’re a robot or not. So as long as you tick ‘not’, you’ll go straight through.
It’s a great improvement by Google who needed to make the change. We’re already seeing some rollouts in WordPress and it looks like mobile CAPTCHA’s will change as well, utilising image selection to speed up the process.
Google says that occasionally, if they don’t quite believe you, there will be a reversion to old reCAPTCHA technology – but it shouldn’t happen too often and I’m willing to take the chance.