Google announced recently in its official blog, that it has acquired reCAPTCHA. CAPTCHA is a web technology made out of necessity. It primarily is used to prevent BOTS (or automated apps designed to do malicious tasks) by adding an extra step to site pages that require human interaction. Yes, they’re the annoying barely readable text images when you register/login for a site.
Anyway, this move by Google is more than just for improving it’s CAPTCHA capabilities. As they explain, reCAPTCHA technology will improve Google projects that require reading text in images. The best to benefit from this are Google’s Books project and the recent Fast Flip zine search. For more info see the official announcement.