Google buys reCAPTCHA to boost book scanning efforts

The acquisition will also strengthen Google's anti-spam technology

Google plans to accelerate its massive efforts to scan tens of millions of books and periodicals with the acquisition on Wednesday of a company called reCAPTCHA.

ReCAPTCHA is a well-known provider of CAPTCHA technology, which is used to prevent spammers from using computers to automatically register for online services, such as Web mail accounts and Web site registrations.

CAPTCHA, which stands for "Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart," requires users to type randomly chosen words that appear as images, a process that is easy for humans but hard for computers to do correctly.

What attracted Google to ReCAPTCHA is that the company has linked its core authentication service with efforts to digitize print books and periodicals.

The search giant has a massive effort underway in that area for its Google Books and Google News Archive services.

ReCAPTCHA takes its word images from scanned print materials.

Every time people solve a CAPTCHA from the company, they are also, as a byproduct, helping to turn scanned words into plain text that can be indexed and made searchable by search engines.

"So we'll be applying the technology within Google not only to increase fraud and spam protection for Google products but also to improve our books and newspaper scanning process," reads a post in Google's official blog authored by Luis von Ahn, cofounder of reCAPTCHA, and Will Cathcart, a Google product manager.

The ReCAPTCHA service is used by about 100,000 Web sites, and it is helping to digitize old editions of The New York Times.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mergers & acquistionsGoogleGoogle bookscaptcha

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?