Posted in Menacing Monopoly

Google gobbles up reCAPTCHA

This sucks:

Google Inc., the most popular Internet search engine, acquired ReCaptcha, a company that helps prevent fraud and spam at Web sites such as

The technology will be used to protect Web surfers and improve the scanning of books and newspapers, Google said today on its blog. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. The technology is used on more than 100,000 sites.

reCAPTCHA, originally developed at Carnegie Mellon University, but apparently no longer affiliated with that great institution, is easily the most usable and readable CAPCTHA system out there. Now it's just another extension of the Google empire, another way for Google to collect data from webmasters. This site – Leave Google Behind – has not used reCAPTCHA to date, and now it won't for sure.

What's even more sinister is that Google plans to use this acquisition to bolster its evil plan to gain control over orphaned books. That plan has run into significant and welcome opposition; the head of the U.S. Copyright Office has even spoken out against it to Congress.

If Feedburner offers any history lesson, the swallowing of reCAPTCHA will be messy and bumpy.