Ontario’s ShareThink aims to replace CAPTCHAs with HIVEs

CAPTCHA: Based on the word “capture” and an acronym for Completely Automated Public Turning test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.

HIVE: Human Intelligence Verification System.

Some people like typing in Captchas, but the overwhelming majority hate it. Technology developed to read the first Captchas forced them to become even more warped, warbled, and fragmented, making them a hair-pulling nuisance for users across the internet. And even so, computers can still read them nearly as good as us flesh-and-bone folk.

Isn’t there a better way to tell that I’m a human, not a robot?

Ontario’s ShareThink believes so. According to them, the answer is HIVE.

Hive is a unique approach to determining whether the user of a computer is a robot or a human. Forget pure image recognition—robots are professionals at that! Hive uses things more distinctly human in nature, such as a relationship between two images that a computer would never be able to figure out via pre-programmed algorithms.

For example, connecting a camera to batteries is something a human would link naturally when the other images are irrelevant flowers and fruits. A computer could not compute this. And its as simple as tapping your finger or drawing a short line—no straining your eyes to read distorted glyphs and fumbling with the keyboard over whether thats a “i” or “j.”

It sounds simple, and while there are tremendous complexities behind it, it’s really that basic nature of the concept and the action required by the human that makes it so delightful. Slick execution on this idea and ShareThink is sure to have a hit on its hands.

I for one know I’d rather complete a Hive challenge than type a Captcha.

And as far as monetization goes? ShareThink plans to turn Hives into engaging (but non-obtrusive ads). Think about connecting dirty socks to a branded image of Tide laundry cleaner. Now you’ve got the consumer thinking about your product and what it does. Another clever idea that, with deft execution, should prove lucrative for this small-town Ontario company.