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Fed up with Distorted Texts for Verification? Google Is Offering New CAPTCHA!

Fed up with Distorted Texts for Verification? Google Is Offering New CAPTCHA!

Do you know what a “CAPTCHA” is? Even if you’re unfamiliar with the term, you’re still likely familiar with them. They’re those annoying little word boxes you have to fill out on nearly every website out there to verify that you are, indeed, human (an example can be seen below).

The_Captcha_original12323

    If you are in fact aware of these little boxes, then you know how awful they are. How many times have you come across a CAPTCHA and not been able to discern the archaic hieroglyphics before you? Probably more times than you can count. Some of them are so ridiculously formatted that they look more like a blob than an assortment of letters.

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    Worst of all, if you get the aforementioned blob CAPTCHA incorrect, the system thinks you’re a robot! And you’ll have to go through the process ALL over again, until you finally (usually randomly) input the right string of letters and numbers.

    Well, it turns out that the fine folks at Google have finally decided to respond to the public’s distaste for inscrutable (and for the most part, useless) CAPTCHAs. Don’t think that they did this out of the kindness of their hearts though; the main reason they’re changing it is because CAPTCHAs are able to be bypassed by “99.8%” of computers. So much for all those wasted hours squinting at a few pixels!

    With CAPTCHAs gone, what will take its place? Google has the answer. They’ve been developing a CAPTCHA replacement that’s far more user friendly, and requires far less eye-strain on your end. What is it? Basically, it’s a box. A box that you check with the click of your mouse.

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    Yes, you read that right. Google’s solution is to ask you a simple question: are you a robot? If you’re not, you check their little box.

    Recaptcha_ver3

      Though the new CAPTCHA pictured above looks simple, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. Apparently, for this to work, Google has to track your online habits (those worried about privacy may be concerned about this, but I’m sure they’ll allow you to opt-out).

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      Eventually, once Google has a somewhat accurate picture of who you are and what you do, its algorithm can piece together all of the evidence and officially declare that you are, indeed, a human. Thus, when the box pops up asking if you’re a robot, you can check it with confidence, knowing that unless you have what Google deems to be robotic habits online, you’ll pass the test.

      If the algorithm hasn’t yet determined whether you’re a robot or not yet, you’ll have to complete a more streamlined version of the CAPTCHA, which, luckily for us, is far easier to complete than the old ones (while being more difficult for computers to crack).

      Recaptcha_ver4
        An example of the more streamlined CAPTCHA. You pick a color instead of trying to decipher mangled text.

        Obviously, the benefits of this are enormous. No longer will you have to stop and wait to fill out pointless gibberish in your quest to traverse the internet. Just a check will do, and you’ll be on your merry way.

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        This system isn’t quite ready to be implemented fully yet, but when it is, you probably won’t notice too much of a difference at first. Over time though, you’ll see standard CAPTCHA boxes be replaced by the more modern version, and from then on you’ll no longer have to feel like clawing your eyes out when you’re asked to verify your humanity.

        To be honest, I feel like something like this should have implemented years ago. I mean, we all found CAPTCHAs annoying, and we also all knew they basically did nothing when it came to stopping computers from pretending they are people.

        At least Google is finally doing something about this now. If you’re a user of WordPress, Snapchat, or Humble Bundle, you may have already seen this new CAPTCHA in use. What do you think? Is it better than the old one?

        Featured photo credit: CAPTCHA Painting/ Becky Stern via flickr.com

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        Last Updated on May 14, 2019

        8 Replacements for Google Notebook

        8 Replacements for Google Notebook

        Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

        1. Zoho Notebook
          If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
        2. Evernote
          The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
        3. Net Notes
          If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
        4. i-Lighter
          You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
        5. Clipmarks
          For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
        6. UberNote
          If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
        7. iLeonardo
          iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
        8. Zotero
          Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

        I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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        In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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