I can tell you from a personal experience that captchas are a pain, especially if you are teaching your mother by voice chat how to have her Google account authenticated. The squiggly letters are almost unreadable. Run lines along the C’s and you will mistake it for a small E. You cannot tell whether it is a numeral 1 or a small L. Some words would contain accents or, worse, written in Chinese.
Activate the audio version of captcha, which is supposed to aid older people and the handicapped, and you barely hear the numbers you need to type in a sea of much louder noise. My mother gave up on Google’s captcha, which she would have used as a video conference via Hangouts, and settled on talking with me on Magic Jack.
A startup called Are You Human saw the problems and issues brought by indecipherable captcha procedures and introduced a more playful alternative called PlayThru. Instead of requiring you to type characters, PlayThru confirms you are a human by letting you play a mini-game such as dragging a slice of butter and maple syrup over a pile of pancakes.
The startup claims this method is more secure than word-based captchas, since automated bots have a harder time solving image-based puzzles.
PlayThru has been in beta stage for several months and can be downloaded for free. The program will be officially launched on May 21 for both PCs and smartphones.