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.
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.