Feeds

Google boffins beat own Captchas

The StreetView numbers game

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

A group of Google scientists working on extracting numbers from StreetView images has discovered that their technology can also match humans at solving captchas.

The aim, according to their research paper (at Arxiv, here), was to automatically extract accurate street number data from StreetView images so as to improve Google Maps location information.

Prior work, the researchers write, had worked on extracting individual numbers from an image, identifying each number, and then reassembling the whole street number. This, however, is inefficient, so the group let by Ian Goodfellow focussed on taking an entire image and identifying all the numbers in it.

Testing their model on Google's StreetView House Numbers dataset (which contains 200,000 numbers), the researchers found they were able to match human accuracy of 98 per cent with “95.64 per cent coverage”.

To achieve that accuracy, the researchers spent six days training Google's DistBelief neural network modelling framework. That training was then applied to all the house numbers Google holds – well into the tens of millions. The less constrained dataset reduced coverage down to 89 per cent while holding accuracy at the 98 per cent “equal to a human” threshold.

Google's Street View number recognition

Getting numbers out of images is easy, says Google

The same model was then tested against Google's reCAPTCHA puzzle, achieving 99.8 per cent accuracy. The researchers write that while this doesn't render Captchas useless, “the utility of distorted text as a reverse turing test by itself is significantly diminished”.

As Google's Vinay Shet writes in this blog post, “the act of typing in the answer to a distorted image should not be the only factor when it comes to determining a human versus a machine”, and Google itself is reducing its “dependence on text distortions as the main differentiator between human and machine,” using Captchas instead to “perform advanced risk analysis”. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
TorrentLocker unpicked: Crypto coding shocker defeats extortionists
Lousy XOR opens door into which victims can shove a foot
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.