Have you ever done a Google search and got a mysterious message that tells you to type some characters or choose images to continue searching? No, you’re not dealing with a virus, nor your computer is getting hacked.
What you’ve just encountered is called a CAPTCHA. It’s an acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing test.
Google asking for CAPTCHA when searching is a method designed to prove that you’re not an automated program – also known as a robot – that’s trying to infiltrate Google.
The world’s leading search engine isn’t all that perfect, after all. There are instances when Google mistakes a human for a program.
The Google Security blog provides a more comprehensive explanation of how and why this happens. (Read What is the Google Snack Pack)
How CAPTCHA Works
Imagine this. You’re just casually browsing Google, minding your own business. All of a sudden, you’re asked to prove that you’re not a robot. It’s nothing more than a security check. However, CAPTCHAs can be frustrating for people who don’t have the time or patience for it.
A CAPTCHA can be done in the following options:
- Type the correct group of characters, as shown on the screen.
- Identify which pictures contain the object that was being asked (e.g., traffic lights, busses, etc.)
- Find objects on a single image that’s been divided into several squares.
Once you answer these questions correctly, only then will you be allowed to continue with your search. It’s not as hard as it sounds.
But it’s quite a nuisance, especially when you’re in a hurry. You might be wondering how to stop CAPTCHA from ruining your Google search experience?
What Triggers a CAPTCHA?
“Google, I am not a robot.” Sure, you are. But Google doesn’t seem to agree. That’s why you need to prove it.
You might be wondering why you’re getting a CAPTCHA in the first place. The reason is relatively straightforward: You get a CAPTCHA because Google detected unusual traffic coming from your computer network. (Learn How Do the Majority of Potential Customers Find Business Websites)
If Google detects that your network is behaving strangely (e.g., sending automated traffic), you will receive a message. Afterward, you’ll need to answer a CAPTCHA before you can proceed or continue with your search.
If you’re wondering, what Google considers as automated traffic,’ here are some factors:
When you’re sending searching from:
- A robot
- Computer program
- Automated service
- Search scraper
- SEO tools
- Using software that automates searches to see how a website ranks on Google.
- Automating searches to test a website’s SEO
Identifying Human and Robot
CAPTCHAs are designed to help Google users prove that they’re not an automated program doing shady searches. If you look at it closely, it’s not that much of an issue or threat.
By looking at a person’s search patterns, Google can either determine or mistake a human for a dangerous program. If you aren’t aware, bots and artificial intelligence are quite rampant on the internet now.
They can be used to automate processes and do a malicious activity without the actual user getting caught.
Some examples of instances that trigger CAPTCHAs include:
- Infected computers
- Email works
- DSL routers
- SEO ranking tools
All of these factors are pretty common these days. That’s why search engines like Google and other websites on the internet incorporate the use of CAPTCHAs. This method acts as a security measure that secures websites from online attacks.
What to Do When You See a CAPTCHA Message
Once Google detects unusual traffic from your computer network, it will automatically redirect you to an error page. This page will contain the CAPTCHA button, along with a message that says, “To continue using Google, solve the reCAPTCHA.”
Solving the CAPTCHA correctly will let Google know that you’re human and not a malicious spam bot. After you answer the CAPTCHA, you’ll be redirected to the search results of your most recent search.
How to Disable CAPTCHA in Chrome
If you’re using Google Chrome, you might have noticed a message pop-up when visiting certain websites or executing a particular action. The pop-up would say, “Click ‘Allow’ to prove you’re not a robot. Some even use it to trick users into subscribing to a website’s push notifications.
Once you press the allow button, you’ll receive unwanted advertisements directly to your desktop.
It can be frustrating to get these pop-ups. Fortunately, you can disable this feature on Google Chrome.
Here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Step 1: Click the Chrome main menu button located at the right-hand corner of your screen. Three vertical ellipses represent it.
- Step 2: Click “Settings”
- Step 3: Inside the Settings menu, scroll down until you see the word “Advanced.”
- Step 4: Look for “Privacy and Security.” Under this section, click “Content Settings.”
- Step 5: Click “Notifications.”
- Step 6: Find the Captcha.info website. Click the three vertical ellipses next to it.
- Step 7: Click “Remove.”
Once you’re done, you can now enjoy browsing on that website without the fear of getting pop-up notifications. You can do the same for other websites as well. Just repeat the process above.
Training Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Yes, it’s an annoying feature. But apart from security reasons, CAPTCHA also serves another great purpose: helping Google refine its AI technology. When you solve a CAPTCHA, you are also making Google’s AIs faster and more reliable.
The first iteration of CAPTCHAs was used to help Google translate and transcribe books. Since that phase is now complete, it’s now being used to help Google AI recognize objects in images. So the next time you encounter a CAPTCHA, know that it will improve Google and your overall experience with it.
CAPTCHAs are quite annoying. Some people even say that it’s not necessary. But in reality, it is, and it serves a greater purpose.
Every time you submit a CAPTCHA, you’re also contributing towards the advancement of technology and a much-improved Google. So, by all means, solve CAPTCHAs and make the world a better place.