Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) has proposed a way to limit the use of those little boxes that show obscured letters and require website visitors to type in the letters or numbers to prove they aren’t robots. Those boxes are referred to as captchas, and they can be pretty obnoxious for internet users on smartphones or those who simply are in a hurry.
The Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog explains how the search giant plans to limit the use of captchas and make them much easier to navigate. Some websites are already using the new system.
Google wants to use captchas less often
Captchas have been in use for many years. They’re found often on sites on which a payment is required, like to purchase tickets for a concert online. The point is to make sure that the visitor who is trying to purchase the tickets is actually human rather than a robot deployed to scoop up as many tickets as possible so that the purchaser can sell them for more later.
That’s only one example, but there are plenty of others.
How the new captcha system works
Instead of using the obscured letters or numbers to make sure a website visitor is human, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) suggests a more complex way of verifying someone’s humanity. The search giant would analyze the behavior of the website visitor using a few parameters.
For example, those who go to a website from an IP address that’s suspicious would be shown a traditional captcha. Google did not provide any other details on how the new captcha system would work on desktops because it didn’t want to tip off those who develop internet crawlers.
New captcha system for smartphones
On smartphones, Google would use pictures instead of strings of blurred or obscured letters or numbers. The search giant would show a picture up top and then ask the user which of the pictures match that picture.
For example, Google might show a picture of a turkey and then include other pictures of turkeys from different angles so that only a human would be able to identify that the pictures are of the same thing but just from different angles. The user would be prompted to select all of the pictures that match the one at the top of the page.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) said WordPress and SnapChat have already deployed the new system over the last week. As with most of Google’s software offerings, websites can add the open source toolkit free.