If there’s one thing more annoying than overly complex password requirements, it’s barely legible captcha puzzles that websites use to determine whether or not we’re really human beings or are just bots trying to set up spam accounts. The Wall Street Journal reports that Google has come up with a brilliant solution to this problem that not only minimizes the use of captcha puzzles but also involves one of the Internet’s favorite things: Pictures of cute animals.
For all the Internet’s complexity, websites often rely on a rudimentary tool to determine if a user is a real person and not a robot seeking to automatically buy concert tickets, score reservations or hack into bank accounts. The “captcha,” an obscured combination of letters and numbers, is designed to separate the humans from the machines. But captchas can be frustrating for consumers navigating the Internet from small smartphone screens or in a rush to nab the last ticket to a Bruce Springsteen show. Wednesday, Google revealed its latest proposal to replace the captcha. It is alarmingly simple: Users simply check a box next to the phrase, “I’m not a robot.” Only if an Internet user is displaying other robot-esque behaviors, such as arriving from a suspicious Internet address, would Google present the traditional blurred letters and numbers. Google declined to elaborate on how it determines a user’s humanity, lest it tip off the programmers of other robots.