Did you notice when “Captchas”, the distorted letters and numbers that you need to interpret and type in before continuing some sort of online process, changed a while back?
They’ve changed again.
I’m talking about Google-generated “Captchas.” You’ll find these on both Google-owned and non-Google web sites that use Google’s Captcha service.
The first change added a second word, a “real” word, in addition to the (seemingly) random letters or letters and numbers. This ‘real’ word is a scan from one of the many books that Google has scanned and put online.
Supposedly, it is, or was, a word that Google’s automatic character recognition software was not able to interpret during the scan, or not able to interpret with a high degree of certainty. So…. shoot it out to a handful of Captcha boxes, and if a majority of those users agree, POOF, problem solved. This is an example of a technique called “crowd sourcing.”
The recent change in Captchas is that the 2nd word is now sometimes a photograph, and in this photograph is the house number or address from a snapshot of Google’s Street View. (more…)