Google Using ReCAPTCHA to Decode Street Signs

If you've recently seen photographs show up on Google's ReCAPTCHA authentication feature and wondered what was going on, Google has finally provided an answer for you. TechCrunch report that Google has confirmed that it is crowd sourcing its efforts to improve Street View by having users decipher characters in Street View photos.

"We’re currently running an experiment in which characters from Street View images are appearing in CAPTCHAs," Google said in a statement to TechCrunch. "We often extract data such as street names and traffic signs from Street View imagery to improve Google Maps with useful information like business addresses and locations."

The original use for ReCAPTCHA, a Carnegie Mellon project acquired by Google three years ago, was to help fight spam while also crowd sourcing the task of digitizing books and other content. This new project from Google just uses ReCAPTCHA in a different way. However, though improving Street View is the goal for this experiment, that's not all Google is looking to achieve. According to the search giant, the experiment will also help the company determine whether or not using imagery is an effective way to refine their bot-fighting tools.

Google didn't detail just how widespread the experiment is, or how long it will go on for, but Google says it launched the experiment a couple of weeks ago and that it includes street addresses and numbers, street names, and traffic signs.

Follow @JaneMcEntegart on Twitter.

Image Credit: BlackHat User 'Dirtbag'

Create a new thread in the Streaming Video & TVs forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
11 comments
    Your comment
    Top Comments
  • aoneone
    whats the point? 85% of the real people who gets the annoying recaptha have to re-input those stupid letters and numbers 2 or 3 times because we can't even figure out what freakin' letter is which in that swirling headache!
    20
  • nicodemus_mm
    technicalbassOn a side note. That F'n Porche advertisement on this page has no close option which is ungodly retarded.


    Firefox + Adblock Plus = The cure for most of your ad woes.
    17
  • guru_urug
    everlast66This explains why sometimes you can go through the captchas with random text. If they rely on the users to enter data, then it is no longer a check buy just an entry box, they don't have anything to compare against, ant it always passes. So if you see your street name on GMaps as "fghsdfs" don't be surprised.


    Each new word that cannot be read correctly by OCR is given to a user in conjunction with another word for which the answer is already known. The user is then asked to read both words. If they solve the one for which the answer is known, the system assumes their answer is correct for the new one. The system then gives the new image to a number of other people to determine, with higher confidence, whether the original answer was correct.
    13
  • Other Comments
  • A Bad Day
    Although it's an experiment with a good purpose, I wonder how long would it take for spammers to get hold of a software that is similar to the one that Google is testing.
    -5
  • technicalbass
    Recaptcha is also being used to translate the entire wiki collection into other languages using similar methods. Not by google if I recall.

    On a side note. That F'n Porche advertisement on this page has no close option which is ungodly retarded.
    9
  • nicodemus_mm
    technicalbassOn a side note. That F'n Porche advertisement on this page has no close option which is ungodly retarded.


    Firefox + Adblock Plus = The cure for most of your ad woes.
    17