Knock Knock Recaptcha

Short observation – I’ve become aware of the increasingly likelihood of Recaptcha asking you to read what looks like irregularly created door numbers on (presumably) street view data:

google door close

Several things occur; some to do with privacy, some to do with human vs computer power, and more besides. But the most obvious one is ‘why they need to do this at all’?

Surely the way streets work (series of numbers, evenly distributed) means that the computer should be able to work out, if 1804 is legible, and 1808 is legible, what that house might be…?

(If you don’t know, the idea behind ReCAPTCHA was: “Every time our CAPTCHAs are solved, that human effort helps digitize text, annotate images, and build machine learning datasets”)