What is ReCAPTCHA?
ReCAPTCHA is a tool that is used to help verify that a human is completing an online form and protects your forms from becoming entry points for scammers and spam bots.
Google's ReCAPTCHA features uses a combination of information to help determine if a person or a bot is filling out your form.
Why can (or can't) I see reCAPTCHA on my forms?
Google only displays the reCAPTCHA feature on your form if it can't determine the computer accessing the form is a human or not. Below are various reasons why and how Google determines if a computer is operated by a human or a bot.
How can I turn off reCAPTCHA on my forms?
We highly recommend leaving this feature turned on but, if you'd like to disable it for any reason, here's how:
You'll first want to select "Communication" from the left-hand navigation, and then select "Forms" from the drop-down options.
You'll want to identify the form you're looking to update, and select the "Actions" button next to the form. From the drop-down options, you can then select "Edit."
Once the editing options appear, you'll want to locate the "Enable Captcha?" question, found underneath the "What's this form's information?" section.
From here, you can click on the "No" button to disable the reCAPTCHA, then click on the "Update and Save" button to confirm those changes.
How does Google determine whether or not the form submission was created by a bot?
Exactly how Google determines if you're a human or a bot is not 100% clear. They keep the specifics a secret, which is in part why it's such an effective tool in protecting against spam bots.
We don't know everything, but below are a few examples of criteria that likely play into the bot check:
Your IP address: Has it been identified as a bot already?
The resources you "load": A simple bot does not load styles or images, since it does not need them.
Your sign-in information: Are you signed in to a Google account? Does that account appear to belong to a real person?
Your online behavior: A human scrolls down the page, moves the mouse around, takes some time between pushing down the mouse button and releasing it. Additionally, a human does not click the dead center of the check box every time - whereas a bot would.
Your browsing history: Google knows a lot of your browsing history, and it's usually fairly varied. Bots usually don't have a browsing history - or it's just a list of similar phishing attempts.