Our little maths test thing, which called itself a CAPTCHA, is no more. It did a great job of stopping Spam comments, which were previously inundating us with links to cheap shoes in the US and gambling sites. It had a flaw; just as the automated Spam bots couldn’t do maths, neither could it. 3 +2 does not = 5? Huh? It had to go.
It’s been replaced with the real thing, the RECAPTCHA, a Google tool. This little puppy, although still a little annoying, is helping build a better world. Google’s is attempt to digitise millions of paper books, safeguarding them and making them available to everyone with an Internet connection.
Even Google struggles sometimes, their computers can work out what most of the words mean, but not all. Those last few need something better than their computing might, they need you.
The RECAPTCHA shows you images of two words and asks you to type them both in. The interesting thing is, it itself doesn’t know what one of these words is, that word represents the Google translation machine’s failure. The magic is simple. The same set of two words is presented to say ten people. If all ten type in the same letters, Google assumes you’re right and uses your translation for the word it couldn’t suss.
With millions of these things completed per day, the intelligence of the human race has effectively become a part of the machine, solving a massive problem, while the CAPTCHA itself stops the insidious Spam. Fabulous and ingenious.
We love getting comments on the site, from anyone and everyone, they entertain, interest and motivate us. Please keep ’em coming.
If you have any problems with the CAPTCHA thing, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.