Google said today that it has acquired reCAPTCHA, a company that provides CAPTCHAs, those squiggly words in a box that you have to type to verify that you are a real person and not a computer bot.the Google post:
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). This technology also powers large scale text scanning projects like Google Books and Google News Archive Search.
And there you have it - the 2-for-1 that comes with this acquisition. Google becomes the provider of a security technology that's widely used, widely recognized and apparently pretty effective. At the same time, the company also scores the technology that will enhance its book and newspaper scanning process.
Also see: Google buys reCAPTCHA: Digitize old books and fight spam