If shopping online puts a smile on your face, you could soon find that logging into your favourite websites, or even on to your computer itself, requires you to smile, frown or make some other kind of facial expression.
Google have patented a method of recognising whether a login request or transaction has really been made by a human, using face recognition – basically, gurning to gain access.
Existing CAPTCHAs (Completely Automated Public Turing Tests to Tell Computers and Humans Apart) require the user to read distorted words on-screen, or distinguish numerals spoken over a noisy backing track.
With Google’s newly patented method, you could simply use your computer, smartphone or tablet’s camera to ‘watch’ you making a designated facial expression.
The patent allows for your eye, eyebrow, mouth, forehead or nose to be used as a landmark on your face, and its position, along with the overall shape of your face, decides whether you have complied with the test.
Gestures could include blinking, winking, looking in a particular direction, smiling, frowning, sticking your tongue out, opening your mouth, moving your eyebrows, wrinkling your forehead (botox users beware!), or wrinkling your nose.
There’s still a way to go before we see webmasters using this technology, but if you’re an ecommerce operator who’s not a fan of existing CAPTCHAs, it’s a reassuring sign that perhaps the biggest online brand of them all is taking action to find the next generation in human recognition and online fraud prevention.