In Depth

Google ditches Captcha test to check you're not a bot

New system spares users from the need to tick boxes or try to decipher distorted letters

Google has axed its manual Captcha security tool to make way for a new, invisible system that can automatically detect non-human website visitors. 

Until now, internet users have often been asked to retype a series of distorted letters to prove they are a human and not a malicious robot – a system known as Captcha: "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart".

On some sites, this has been replaced with "No Captcha reCaptcha", where all that is required is clicking a checkbox.

However, Google says it has now developed the technology to such a point that users will no longer be required to do either of these methods. 

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It says: "Since the launch of No Captcha reCaptcha, millions of internet users have been able to attest they are human with just a single click."

"Now we're taking it a step further and making it invisible. Human users will be let through without seeing the 'I'm not a robot' checkbox, while suspicious ones and bots still have to solve the challenges."

No details on how the new system works have been revealed and ArsTechnica claims it will probably remain a mystery as disclosing any information could "help bot-makers crack it".

Captcha was acquired by Google in 2009 to "not only to deter spammers and bots", but also to "help solve problems" in other areas of its business, says Business Insider. 

For example, adds the site, when users successfully selected three pictures of cats from nine animals on the old picture-based reCaptcha puzzles, they were in addition "helping Google's machine learning algorithm understand what a cat looks like".

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