Google Buys reCAPTCHA, Rolling Spam Protection Into Products

Posted Sep 16, 2009

Google has bought some interesting companies in the past like Feedburner and YouTube, but I must admit reCAPTCHA is one of the more boring acquisitions. For those of you that are unaware about what reCAPTCHA does, the technology displays a random set of characters that humans must type in to verify that we’re not a spam bot. Surely the technology is useful, but the technology just creates extra steps for humans to accomplish what they want to do right away.

Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart (CAPTCHAs) finds random words and text from scanned newspapers and books and since the text degraded over time in the scanned documents, spam bots have a hard time deciphering them. Now reCAPTCHA will be integrating this service into Google products to increase fraud and spam protection.

The technology used by reCAPTCHA’s Optical Character Recognition will also be used on the Google Book Search project. The OCR software built by reCAPTCHA will be able to search for text within the books that Google scans. The reCAPTCHA team will now be working for Google. The announcement was made by reCAPTCHA co-founder Luis von Ahn and Google Product Manager Will Cathcart on the Google Blog.