Vijay Anand | The Startup Guy.

Posts Tagged ‘comments

Main Entry: Captcha
Function: Verb
Date: Quite recently.

1a. The modern way of torturing a poor netcitizen with the repeated function of eye squinting.

I’m sure all of you know what a captcha image is right? Well, for the uninitiated, its essentially those skewed letters which form letters of strings of numbers, that you have to squint at repeatedly and tilt your head from sideways to leeways, and even might have to invite your dog over and ask him if his black and white vision helps, to figure out what that letter is. It’s supposed to stop “spam bots” from getting to you.

As you can see, I am not very much a fan of that. Well, I say that there definitely better ways to do it.

What you are essentially looking for is a little bit of human intelligence and the ability to come up with a “smart” question, using a “stupid” computer so that the answer could determine whether the person or thing providing the input could be determined for intelligence. That’s pretty much the logic.

So is skewed text, and at times throwing random ink blots into the mix, the way to go about it?

There are already a few options being discussed about, out there at large, but here’s what i am thinking. Have you played the game of “pick the odd one out” ? That game certainly requires a bit of intelligence – atleast that of a five year old – yet doesn’t freckle your brains to come up with an answer. Plus its also a lot of fun. The beauty is that, you could make it as a silly and simple as the jackpot choices (where the choices are obviously different), or can make it a bit trickier with very similar looking options.

A small interactive widget which can randomize four of five images and perhaps ask the user to “pick the rabbit out of the horses”, with three horses and a rabbit lined up… wouldnt that be simpler, and serve the purpose?

For all the fuzz going on a with companies such as disqus, a team who can actually put together an embeddable widget to do an alternative captcha is worth mention of.

PS: Captcha “really” stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart