Yet another Google related news. Google has finally allowing signing up a Gmail account, and you can get Gmail and use Google Talk even you do not have any friend! However, you do need to have mobile phone (or a cell phone, as it is they call it on the other side of the Pacific ocean). Because you need to pass their Captcha.
No, they did not pull out an obfuscated picture, and request you to guess the letters written on it, as it has been previously proved relatively easy to defeat. Instead, the invitation will be sent to your registered mobile phone, to ensure that there is a real person signing up the process. Quotes the Google blog:
Why use mobile phones? It's a way to help us verify that an account is being created by a real person, and that one person isn't creating thousands of accounts. We want to keep our system as spam-free as possible, and making sure accounts are used by real people is one way to do that.
That's a great implementation. I have seen other "Captcha" implementations that put on significant cost upon signing up the service, which really works to deter bots and unwanted spammers. Credit item reference number, delivery to real address, etc. All computer generated problems are bounded to be computational solvable. Just that some are much harder than the others, to a point the spammers/bots just won't bother.
It is not working outside the states though. So Aussies might still need to wait for Google to integrate with our telcoms. Or -- try to find a friend. I think it would be faster :)