Google eliminates old reCAPTCHA in favor of noCAPTCHA

The old days of distorted text challenges are coming to an end, and there won't be many complaints.

Published Thu, Dec 4 2014 1:54 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 12:12 PM CST

Google is migrating away from the old annoyance of reCAPTHCA to a new system they are calling noCAPTCHA. reCAPTCHA relied upon distorted text to filter out robots and abusive scripts, and is widely used as a catch-all for websites to filter out spammers. As the use of robots and abusive scripts increased, they eventually began to decipher the reCAPTCHA distorted text with more accuracy. This led to more intense text distortions in an attempt to thwart these advances. These programs are now able to decipher over 99.8% of all distorted text images, even with the most difficult reCAPTCHA implementations.

Google eliminates old reCAPTCHA in favor of noCAPTCHA |

Users are simply asked if they are a robot with the noCAPTCHA API, and with one click they can pass the new test. Several sites, such as Snapchat, WordPress, and Humble Bundle, have successfully tested the new noCAPTCHA system. noCAPTCHA relies upon an Advanced Risk Analysis backend that studies a user's activity before, during, and after, the noCAPTCHA challenge. If the system flags the user as a possible script or robot it will issue increasingly difficult challenges and eventually weed out the potential spammer.

Google isn't providing specific information on how the new API ascertains whether or not the user is a robot, but the time between clicks and other activity is likely to be an important factor. Bots surf the web with amazing speed, while humans will naturally not be able to accomplish tasks as quickly. WordPress has sent more than 60% of their traffic through the new system, and Humble Bundle has upped their percentage to 80%. The end result is a simplified user experience that can actually weed out the offending robots. The new API is ready for all to use, and a trip over to Google's website will get users up and running.

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