Trivia

Hard

Google Has Leveraged Security Captcha To Successfully Do What?

Digitize Books
Analyze Astronomical Data
Solve Encryption Algorithms
Fold Proteins

Answer: Digitize Books

A captcha is a small puzzle intended to establish that the user of a service or interface is human. Any time you’ve gone to sign up for an email newsletter, join a discussion forum, or other online activity and been asked to identify a word, read text with scribbles through it, label a photo, or other activity that a computer would be terrible at but even a very unclever human would excel at, you’ve experienced a captcha.

Historically, captchas were just blurbs of text or numbers meshed into a loud background. If you were a computer, you couldn’t easily parse out the data hidden in the image file, but a human could easily see that behind all the yellow and blue marks there was a sequence of letters and numbers like “Y345LW8”. Type that sequence in and you confirm that you’re not just a dirty spam bot.

What if you could leverage all those hundreds of thousands of useless captcha solutions and make them useful? That’s exactly what Google did with the reCaptcha system. Instead of giving you a random string of letters and numbers masked by hash marks, they serve up a pair of words from their enormous database of digitized books, newspapers, and other documents. All of those documents have been worked over by Google’s OCR software, but as anyone who has used OCR software can tell you, even the best software is very unreliable. Humans, however, are fantastic at reading text that is blurry, smudged, unclear, or otherwise unrecognizable to a machine. So every time you visit a web site with a reCaptcha in place, you’re actually helping Google to figure out exactly what that scanned word is. When enough users return the same value for the word, it is reanalyzed and confirmed.

Trivia

Hard

Myst Island, Setting Of The Iconic 1990s Video Game, Was Named After A Novel By?

Trivia

Hard

In The 2000s, Footage From The Original Lunar Orbiters Was Digitized In A Former?

Trivia

Easy

In Russia Repurposed Fighter Jet Engines Are Used For?

Trivia

Hard

During World War II The U.S. Government Banned (But Quickly Returned) What As A Cost Saving Measure?

Trivia

Hard

Early Versions Of What Thing Were Known As “Boneshakers”?

Trivia

Hard

The Blue Laser Lighting Inside The Egg Chamber In The Movie Alien Was Provided By?

Trivia

Hard

The Point On The Earth’s Surface Farthest From Its Center Is Located At?

Trivia

Hard

The Element First Discovered And Recorded By Modern Science Was?

Trivia

Very Hard

The Strongest Biological Substance Found In Nature Is?

Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Features Do Nintendo Switch Cartridges Have That No Other Nintendo Cartridge Has Previously Had?