Open Sesame

I’m a frequent user of Google, with a lot of my searches being employed for this very blog. So imagine my surprise when two nights in a row – after asking it to find me a particular picture, it asked me whether I was an actual person.

Image credit: boblebowski.com
Image credit: boblebowski.com

What it really said was that Google had noticed increased activity coming from my network and wanted to verify that I was not a robot trying to mess with the search engine. The words in italics are mine.

The first time it happened, I was a little offended – as a person who frequents a particular store would be, when  on  one particular visit she finds the owner less friendly than usual. But I’m aware that hackers exist so I was prepared to play along and copy the letters that came up on the screen.

As I began the process of verifying my human identity, I vaguely remembered having to do it before and recalled that I had to copy the series of letters maybe twice before they swung open the door. But that didn’t happen this time. I kept copying the letters and they kept putting up more. Apparently, the robots had done as well as I had been doing up to that point. After the tenth one, I began to wonder what I was doing wrong.

I started to look at the words from a different angle – upside down and sideways, because I thought that by this time they should have known that not only was I a human but also where I was born, and when that blessed event had occurred. I never got back in because I gave up trying to find what I was looking for, and went to bed.

I had no trouble getting an answer to my question on ambulances the next morning, but when I attempted to search for a picture of one that night, it stopped me dead in my tracks again. I couldn’t believe that they were putting me through this song and dance again, but this time I wanted to see how long it would take to prove my humanity to them. I kept putting in the correct letters and they kept asking me to do it again.

If you’ve been through it before you know that the letters don’t form actual words, but this time I was at it so long I began to make a game of it and would look for the missing letters in their stream of nonsensical words. The protracted game also had me taking off my glasses to look closer at the screen. Could this test actually be getting harder?

I decided to have some fun and see what would happen if I put in some letters that weren’t even there. Would my computer self destruct? Would I be forever locked out? I can report that nothing that dramatic happened. In fact – nothing happened. Well actually, that’s not true. I just got yet another set of letters.

So it seems that Google doesn’t want my business anymore.

I guess I’ll just have to take my questions on over to Bing.

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8 thoughts on “Open Sesame

  1. I’d never heard of this either, but after a little research on, where else, Google, I found this:

    How To Solve ?
    “Our systems have detected unusual traffic from your computer network. Please try your request again later.” Why did this happen?

    This page appears when Google automatically detects requests coming from your computer network which appear to be in violation of the Terms of Service. The block will expire shortly after those requests stop.

    This traffic may have been sent by malicious software, a browser plug-in, or a script that sends automated requests. If you share your network connection, ask your administrator for help — a different computer using the same IP address may be responsible.

    Sometimes you may see this page if you are using advanced terms that robots are known to use, or sending requests very quickly.

    Hope this helps!

    1. I’m impressed that you actually looked this up. I’m also pretty sure that I wasn’t using any “advanced terms that robots are known to use” – whatever those may be.
      I did once have to change my IP address because I was unable to get on to a site that I frequented regularly, but other sites were okay with the old one. Who knows?
      Thanks for your effort though.

      1. You’re welcome! I actually enjoy doing challenging searches on Google. The other night I found the granddaughter of a woman who had painted a painting my daughter bought at an estate sale. When my daughter tried to find out more about the artist, she found a message on a forum that said the artist’s granddaughter was looking for paintings by her grandmother (who died in the 90’s). The message was over two years old and my daughter got no response to her reply. So, Mom to the rescue! After searching several genealogy sites, I found the phone number of the granddaughter and my daughter contacted her. As it turns out, it was her brother’s wife who’d created the message and she said she was unaware he didn’t have any of her (semi-famous) grandma’s artwork. She said that would be rectified and thanked my daughter for being kind enough to seek her out. 🙂

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