Ottawa Startup Creates Replacement for CAPTCHAs

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New Technology Promises an End to CAPTCHAs

A small technology start-up has just launched a new product that they hope will end the bane of CAPTCHAs forever.

CAPTCHAs are those annoying little boxes you seem to find everywhere on the web with the twisty, distorted letters in them that you're supposed to type in to prove you're a human. Nobody likes CAPTCHAs, and it turns out that they're just not very effective at stopping spam.

ShareThink Ltd. of Ottawa, Canada has created a new product they call the Human Intelligence Verification Engine, or HIVE for short.  Instead of requiring users to type in letters, a HIVE challenge shows users a collection of assorted objects, and requires users to use their mouse and draw a line to match two things that belong together, or to circle one thing that doesn't belong.  The resulting test is a sort of mini-game that harks back to the old Sesame Street game where "One of these things is not like the others".

sample VouchSafe challengeHIVE challenges are not only a lot easier, (and a lot more fun) than CAPTCHAs - they claim to be far more secure as well.

Considering all the angst about CAPTCHAs recently, it seems surprising that it has taken so long to come up with a solution that seems so simple, and so obvious.

"This is what I like to call a 'face-palm innovation", says ShareThink CEO Chris Ivey. "Once you see it, you kind of wonder why no one has done this before.  I personally belive that obvious simplicity is the sign of a good idea, and I hope that users will agree with me."

HIVE is currently in a closed beta, but you can register to join the beta if you want to try HIVE on your website.  You can also play with the product demo to see what HIVE is all about at their website:

NOTE: As of August 26, 2011, HIVE has been rebranded as VouchSafe and is available at