Google Kills Two Birds With One Stone With reCAPTCHA Purchase

Google confirmed that it is snapping up reCAPTCHA, an internet fraud prevention start-up firm that can help it ramp up the security of its various online services products, for an undisclosed amount.

The search engine bellwether has announced the acquisition of reCAPTCHA, a Carnegie Mellon University spin-off, a free CAPTCHA service, which presents distorted texts on the web pages as a part of the sign in process.

While users can decipher the distorted text well and get on with the sign in procedure, computers have a hard time in decoding and capturing such text. This prevents botnets from creating bogus accounts with online services and puts a check on spamming activities.

The move could help Google with its ambitious plans to digitise millions of printed books and newspapers, along with safeguarding a wide range of its online services.

The words in the most of the CAPTCHAs offered by reCAPTCHA belong to scanned archival newspapers as well as old books. This makes it harder for computers to recognise the words, as the ink and paper used in them have depreciated over time, noted Will Cathcart, a Google product manager.

Professor Luis von Ahn from Carnegie Mellon University, commented upon the acquisition by saying, “Google is the best fit for reCAPTCHA. From the very start, people often assumed the project was connected to Google, so it only makes sense that reCAPTCHA Inc. ultimately would find a home within Google.”

Our Comments

We envisage that Google will be purchasing Wordpress at some point in the future as Automattic, its parent company, becomes a proper content producing powerhouse. As for reCAPTCHA, it is a great acquisition that solves Google's issue with character recognition as well as protecting its online services from bogus accounts.

Related Links

Google buys fraud protection start-up for security and scanning


Google acquires Carnegie Mellon's anti-fraud tool

(Associated Press)

Google boosts book digitization by capturing reCAPTCHA

(Ars Technica)

Googlebooks crusade captures CAPTCHA king

(The Register)

Google Captures Web Fraud Prevention Start-Up ReCaptcha

(The Wall Street Journal)