No More Annoying Checkboxes! Google Can Now Separate Humans from Bots Using Invisible Powers of AI

Rafia Shaikh
invisible reCAPTCHA v3

Google is releasing a new version of its CAPTCHA, calling it invisible reCAPTCHA. The new invisible reCAPTCHA makes it even easier for humans to get past the checks without having to solve a puzzle, check a box, or click on a set of images.

Google's intelligent new reCAPTCHA

Google has tried a number of different systems to distinguish between human and bots on the web. The Mountain View tech giant had introduced reCAPTCHA in 2014, which was a take on CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart). reCAPTCHA required users to tick a box, click on a set of similar images, or confirm Street View addresses.

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While the process was easier than the traditional CAPTCHA that required us to type distorted words shown in a small box, it still isn't fun to use, especially if you have to visit some specific webpage that requires this verification, multiple times a day. Google is now making the system entirely invisible. The company is taking it a step further by removing the checkbox, but it still does the job of sorting out man from bot.

"Since the launch of No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA, millions of internet users have been able to attest they are human with just a single click," Google wrote. "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," the company added.

Google hasn't explained how exactly the new system distinguishes between bots and humans without any apparent test for humans, probably because it doesn't want to help spammers understand the method. The reCAPTCHA API that supports the ReCAPTCHA checkbox is still working in the background, though. As mentioned above, Google will use the same API for "suspicious" visitors/bots.

The company added that it uses a combination of machine learning and "advanced risk-analysis techniques to distinguish humans from machines". Without requiring dedicated interaction, it can now detect user habits to set bots apart from humans. Google said the technology will "actively consider a user's engagement with the CAPTCHA - before, during, and after - to determine whether that user is a human."

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