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Ask Google to Unlock Visual Verification for the Blind

March 6, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Google is by far the most widely utilized accessible search engine on the Internet. The company went public last year and is quickly adding new, exciting products and services! As blind people, we must take steps right now to insure that Google remains on the right track with respect to the accessibility of its services to all Internet users, including those with disabilities.

If you are blind, Google’s current implementation of visual verification locks you out! Google uses visual verification to test for the presence of a human being before allowing the user to perform basic tasks such as creating a Google account or resetting the account’s password. Unfortunately, at the moment, no audio alternative to this visual verification scheme is provided. If you can’t physically see the picture, you can’t enter the characters displayed and, thus, you are barred from creating the account or resetting the password. I am dealing with this issue right now! I need to reset my Google account password, and the inaccessible visual verification system is locking me out. It is 7:50 in the morning. There is no sighted person available to complete this task on my behalf!

We must take the initiative with Google right now to insist that an accessible audio based alternative be implemented for the current visual verification scheme. Please follow this link to report the problem and ask Google to implement an accessible audio alternative to its visual verification scheme as soon as possible. There are thousands of blind Internet users, and tens of thousands of sighted family, friends and colleagues who care about us! Let’s flood Google with thousands of requests to solve this problem and see what we can accomplish through our collective accessibility advocacy efforts!

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One opinion on “Ask Google to Unlock Visual Verification for the Blind

  1. Okay, I wrote ’em. Anyone wanna join me in writing excite, aim, and earthlink?

    Hey D, have you thought of writing a general form-type letter on word verification? I find it hard knowing what to write to these people sometimes. Something like the sample legislative letters interests groups sometimes send out. I did this for my online journal site. I wrote one letter, and sent it out to friends as a guide for them to write their own letters. I found that people were more likely to write if they felt they had some of an idea where to go with it.

    Anyway, think you could write a good letter like that if ya wanted to. This would make a great place to post it to as well. What do ya think?



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