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Never mind CAPTCHAs; play games instead

Consumer Reports News: May 22, 2012 02:08 PM

If you've ever struggled trying to decipher a CAPTCHA, a start-up company called Are You a Human has devised a much more playful verification solution.

CAPTCHAs (the acronym stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) are those little blocks of distorted text you're required to translate at various websites, in order to leave comments, make purchases, register, and the like. When you type the text in correctly, that verifies that you're a human being and not a spam-bot or computerized thief. But CAPTCHAs are often difficult to decipher; you may need to try more than once to get them right, which can be a mighty frustrating time-waster.

Are You a Human replaces CAPTCHAs with mini-games called PlayThrus, a number of which are demoed on its site. In one, for example, you see a stack of pancakes and various floating objects. You drag the appropriate bottle of syrup and butter pats to the pancakes (not the saw or metal gear), and voila! You're human (or at least, you know your breakfast foods).

A site using PlayThrus will rotate numerous games with varying components: Easy for humans to figure out but very difficult for bots to solve.

Looking for more tips on staying safe online? Check out our Online Security Guide at

Are You a Human replaces annoying CAPTCHAs with games [VentureBeat]

Buzzword: Gamification

For video-game news and reviews, see our guide to Video games, consoles & tech toys.

Carol Mangis

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