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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks


NLPCaptcha - yet another CAPTCHA implementation

I don't like CAPTCHAs. CAPTCHA or Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart, is a technique to to stop bots from signing up for online accounts or automatically filling up forms. I think they are time-wasters and they seem to be a complex way to fight spam. I don't bother filling any form that has a CAPTCHA unless there is a strong motivation or incentive.


There are even automated ways to break a CAPTCHA, like the Firefox add-on called Captcha Monster that completes these tests automatically (Thanks Mateusz).

Google's reCaptcha (used by even its competitor Microsoft) cleverly adapted the traditional CAPTCHA to authenticate text in Google Books, its vast project to digitize and disseminate rare and out-of-print texts on the Internet and also to "improve data in Google Maps by having users identify things like street names and business addresses." Google estimates say that over 200 million Captchas are filled every day and "several million" words are being translated every day.

When I saw a cartoon (shown below) within a CAPTCHA on the Indian Express newspaper website's comment section that asked a single word of the punch-line in blue to be identified, I first thought this could be some novel way to extract text from popular cartoons on the lines of Google's experiments.


It turns out its nothing of that sort.

NLPCaptcha is a commercial "patent-pending" implementation of a CAPTCHA by an ambitious Indian startup that aspires to be a Captcha based advertising platform.

The idea doesn't appear to be deeply thought out as it doesn't factor in Accessibility. It helps advertisers and publishers but what users? I was put off by NLPCaptcha's Flash-based home page that doesn't let you in unless you have the Flash plugin installed.

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