Friday, 15 May 2015

Google is making me feel like a bit of a fraud

I started using Google's URL shortener some time ago and it has always provided me with a reliable supply of links although to be honest the hurdles it has started making me jump through are getting a little irritating.

While in essence irritating these tests are also making me feel like a bit of a fraud because the appearance of the tests suggests that I am some sort of robot that is trying to spam the tool. Google is therefore undermining my confidence and in different circumstances, because of an underlying health condition, this kind of behaviour by the tool could escalate into something worse.

There are two types of test that Google's URL shortener tool uses to make sure you're actually a human.

One of them presents as a series of pictures that are accompanied by an order such as "Select all the soup". You have to go to the images and click on all the pictures of soup out of the nine that are presented to you. This test can by quite tricky and actually difficult to complete because it's not always clear which picture is supposed to be soup. For example, there might be a bowl of soup in one picture but in the same picture there could be a bowl of noodles. Does the picture show soup or noodles? You have to guess. In other cases the pictures are just not that clear or not that obvious at first glance. In short there can be a fair bit of decision-making to go through in order to satisfy this test.

The other type of test is a simple text-string reproduction test where the program presents you with an image of a string of numbers or letters (or a combination of numbers and letters) and you have to type the same string into the text box using your keyboard. The problem with this test is that sometimes the string presented to you is far from clear visually, and in fact it might on occasion be actually indecipherable to you. You can, of course, request a new test sample using the button at the bottom of the tool.

I don't really know why these tests have been appearing with greater frequency for me these days but it might have something to do with the fact that I have been asking for more shortened URLs in the past few weeks.

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