Are you a robot?

For the World Wide Web, answering this simple question (that sounds almost silly) has become part and parcel of the online experience. We live in a world where, unfortunately, robots and spambots have now become part of the online experience.

Google has been known for its two-step verification process in Gmail that provides a second defense against hackers, but the search engine giant has now found a way to make its verification process easier: by asking, “Are you a robot?” and giving you two checkboxes to report the answer.

Of course, it’s not the “yes” box that has Google concerned — it’s the “no” box that has Google concerned. After all, Google wants to separate its human users from robots or spambots who have been programmed to do work for individuals when they’re away from their desk at lunchtime.

Google decided to simplify CAPTCHA as part of its commitment to security for all users. “For years we’ve prompted users to confirm they aren’t robots by asking them to read distorted text and type it into a box. But, figured it would be easier to jiffy directly ask our users whether it not they’re robots,” said reCAPTCHA product manager Vinay Shet in a company blog post earlier today.

Life online can never be too simple, so Google’s new software revision is in step with what we’d expect from Mountain View. The new requirement revision is also a way to fight back against spambots who’ve “evolved” into smarter, more capable robots over the years. With each increase in online questions to verify a human user vs. a robot, robots have always had an extra advantage because of their growing capabilities.

Google acquired reCAPTCHA five years ago to boost web security for Gmail users, but has also used the software for book-scanning purposes.

In a continuance of its long list of business acquisitions, Google acquired Form app company Relative Wave two weeks ago to provide developer tools that’ll key developers see every aspect of their app design before releasing the app in its final form (hence the name “Form”).

Google fiber begins signup phase in Austin, Texas

Google has recently been in trouble in Europe for its dominance in web search, with the European Union calling for Google’s breakup as an international company. Web browser company Mozilla decided to provide a new Firefox update that removes Google as the default search engine in its web browser, while still allowing Google diehards the opportunity to access it by way of a Firefox extension.

As for the search engine giant, Google says that this latest move may be meant to help simplify the process, but the spambot detection process isn’t going anywhere. “Humans, we’ll continue our work to keep the Internet safe and easy to use. Abusive bots and scripts, it’ll only get worse — sorry we’re (still) not sorry.”


    • They retain your data and compare. When Big Brother “knows” you they will know when it is you. The only problem is if respond like Sir Galahad of Camelot (Monty Python and the Holy Grail).

    • It probably checks your google adsense and so on tracking cookies to determine if your a human or not as well as previous responses and click/mouse tracking data (The box is not a regular checkbox and probably is more instrumented as well). It probably offers up increasingly complicated questions depending on how “human” your data is.

      I’m guessing that a bot/human which tries to make a ton of accounts is going to get stonewalled with very difficult problems while a human who only makes a handful of accounts between browsing other sites will get easy questions.

      The amount of data google already has on you is immense so it probably is a joke to figure out who is a bot or human spammer and who is a regular internet user.

      Some spammers are not even bots anymore and there system is probably designed to combat human spammers as well. (Captchas were easy to solved by human standards but now they are so hard because some spammers farm out the captcha responses to cheap human labour)

      The hole in this concept is that spammers will probably try to botnet people to impersonate people’s google identities to make some spam accounts with easy captchas and hire cheap labour to browse the internet at home while making accounts randomly.

      It is basically might be behavioural profiling or at minimum mouse tracking and a computer robot will find it very hard browse the internet in a human fashion and human spammers will get slowed down faking regular activities.

      To regular users captchas will finally get easier for a change so it is a good thing. (Aside from the massive amount of data every site collects on everyone sold and shared with as many third parties as possible)


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