Andrew J. Chapin

@andrewjchapin

Google is Using You

If you’ve been on the internet the last decade, you’ve been doing volunteer work for Google. You clock in every time you run into those magic words: “I’m not a robot.”

The widget often won’t take your word for it, of course — it presents an image grid and ask you to identify store fronts, cars, street signs, or dogs to prove you’re not a robot. You click submit and you’ve clocked out.

As hCaptcha founder Eli-Shaoul Khedouri explains: “Most people don’t realize that every time they ‘click on the car’ when logging onto a website, they are helping to train Google’s self-driving car project.”

Users provide billions of answers and data points each day while logging into their online banking or fantasy sports sites, the websites play host, and Google reaps the benefits. The user and website owner get nothing for their effort.

It appears the founders of hCaptcha are calling shenanigans.

They’ve built a new bot detection widget which is functionally similar but adds a nice perk: the website owner and end-user get paid for their role in the transaction.

A few weeks ago, I wrote A Real Solution: Get Paid for Using Facebook where I opined Facebook users should be compensated for their role in creating content (and value). Why does Facebook get all of the benefit (ad revenue) for playing host?

Google and reCAPTCHA are not all that different. Capturing this volume of effort is an impressive and brilliant feat — especially for free — but it’s not quite fair to the end-user or website owner.

The good news is there’s something you can do about it: HCaptcha is now offering its drop-in replacement for reCAPTCHA on its website, hcaptcha.com.

Still no word on a more-fair version of Facebook.

Andrew J. Chapin is the Co-Founder & CEO of Benja, head of the benjaCoin token project, author of Art of the Initial Coin Offering, and a team member at Intuition Machines (mentioned in this post). This November, Andrew is running the New York City marathon for Athletes to End Alzheimer’s.

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