For many, many years, CAPTCHA has been the necessary evil when browsing the Internet. Now that Google has figured out a way to make this whole process invisible for people, it may very well be the end to our most annoying moments online.
So, what exactly happened? Well, Google, who bought reCAPTCHA years ago, introduced the Invisible reCAPTCHA. What does that mean? It means that you, as a regular Internet user, won't be bothered by it to tick checkboxes, decipher jumbled writing and so on. It will, however, still stand in the way of bots.
The Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart (CAPTCHA) was always rather simple to figure out. You had to type in a few mumbled words or tick a checkbox to prove you're not a robot. The newer version doesn't use any of these, though, because it works in the background to identify bots from humans. Google says the system uses a combination of "machine learning and advanced risk analysis that adapts to new and emerging threats."
There are no more details, and that's fine with us at this point because too much of those and bot-makers could learn how to crack it.
reCAPTCHA was purchased by Google way back in 2009 and was put to use to protect websites from bots, but also to help Google. Google digitizes millions of books, but sometimes its text recognition system doesn't work too well. Then, it used areas of text its system couldn't understand and ask people to type in the words they saw.
There was also the time when Google improved its Street View system with your help by asking you to tell it what numbers you saw in various pictures, which were, in fact, street and house numbers it captured with its cars.
Next, the grid of pictures where Google asked you to pick all images showing traffic signs was used to train its computer image recognition algorithms.
As sites switch to the new invisible CAPTCHA system, you will no longer even see the prompts to check boxes. If your system is flagged by Google as suspicious, well, you'll just have to go through the usual loops to get to where you want to go.