Captchas are pretty annoying. I hate them. Google just bought ReCaptcha – the company that makes captcha forms. And they published this little interesting little piece of info about what you’re actually doing when you fill out a captcha – you’re probably indirectly aiding the development of robots who will one day make captchas pointless.
“The words in many of the CAPTCHAs provided by reCAPTCHA come from scanned archival newspapers and old books. Computers find it hard to recognize these words because the ink and paper have degraded over time, but by typing them in as a CAPTCHA, crowds teach computers to read the scanned text.
In this way, reCAPTCHA’s unique technology improves the process that converts scanned images into plain text, known as Optical Character Recognition (OCR).”