What is reCAPTCHA And How Is It Better For Your Site?

CAPTCHA is a way for websites to keep spam away. Users are asked to identify human-readable text. In theory, it is a perfect way of keeping away bots. But in reality, it's not user-friendly, and can be broken down by an algorithm easily. Google has begun rolling out a new API that simplifies the CAPTCHA experience. It is called the "No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA", and it just requires one click from the user.
On websites using this new API, a significant number of users will be able to securely and easily verify they’re human without actually having to solve a CAPTCHA. Instead, with just a single click, they’ll confirm they are not a robot.

How does reCAPTCHA work?

While the new reCAPTCHA API may sound simple, there is a high degree of sophistication behind that modest checkbox. CAPTCHAs have long relied on the inability of robots to solve distorted text. However, research recently showed that today’s Artificial Intelligence technology can solve even the most difficult variant of distorted text at 99.8% accuracy. Thus distorted text, on its own, is no longer a dependable test.

To counter this, last year Google developed an Advanced Risk Analysis backend for reCAPTCHA that actively considers a user’s entire engagement with the CAPTCHA - before, during, and after - to determine whether that user is a human. This enables websites to rely less on typing distorted text and, in turn, offer a better experience for users.

The new API is the next step in this steady evolution. Now, humans can just check the box and in most cases, they’re through the challenge.

However, CAPTCHAs aren't going away just yet. In cases when the risk analysis engine can't confidently predict whether a user is a human or an abusive agent, it will prompt a CAPTCHA to elicit more cues, increasing the number of security checkpoints to confirm the user is valid.

Adapting the new API

As more websites adopt the new API, more people will see "No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHAs". Early adopters, like Snapchat, WordPress, Humble Bundle, and several others are already seeing great results with this new API. For example, in the last week, more than 60% of WordPress’ traffic and more than 80% of Humble Bundle’s traffic on reCAPTCHA encountered the No CAPTCHA experience - users got to these sites faster.

We will discuss the process for implementing this new API on your site in a future post. For now, stay tuned and ask us questions if you have any.

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