A few weeks ago Google introduced No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA. It is a new approach to recognizing whether we are dealing with robots or humans. It should be a modern alternative to good old CAPTCHA. And I say it was about the time.
Captcha was a good idea a few years ago. They give you garbled text and you write it down to prove that you are a human. State of OCR was such that no program could pass this with any meaningful accuracy. There was a further improvement with ReCaptcha where your input would be used to help with book OCR which also caused warm and fuzzy fillings.
But robots got smarter and captchas got more complicated to keep up. I don't know about you but I average about 75% captcha accuracy on a good day. According to Google, most advanced robots reach 99.8% accuracy. If robots have a higher success rate than humans on a system that was designed to keep them out I believe it is a time for change.
New system aims to recognize behavior and to give various quiz tasks only if there is any doubt. This new API hasn't been widely implemented yet so it is hard to know how good it really is. But, if it removes at least one stupid letter entering dialog, I will consider it a success.
So far I personally haven't been presented by a single new dialog. However, I am not a robot so that is pretty much expected result by design. Based on examples Google has provided, it will be based on image recognition so hopefully robots will endure more pain than humans. Depending from where images are coming from, I also expect quite a lot of funny combinations.
Of course, there is a work involved for any site that is to support this. And my guess is that it will be a bit more difficult to implement than older ReCaptcha. Considering that even ReCaptcha didn't take web world by storm although it was superior to self-created ones, it is pretty much safe bet that we will see old style captchas for a while.
But new captcha king is in town. May it stop our robot overlords.
PS: No, "abicl" was not correct answer for a picture above.
PPS: If 99.8% figure is for ReCaptcha captchas, I imagine that it is all but 100% for all those self-rolled captchas that think that having a line or two is protection enough.