Google Release of Audio Alternative to CAPTCHA

Google updated their CAPTCHA logic to provide an audio alternative for visual impaired users — or also users that have a hard time reading the twisted letters.

Without even mentioning the online petition where almost 5,000 people protested against the original format where only an image was available. From the Google blog – Audio captchas when visual images are unusable:

You can easily spot the availability of audio captchas by the presence of the well-recognized “wheelchair” icon for accessibility — the image is tagged with appropriate alt text to help blind users. Incidentally you don’t have to be visually impaired to use the audio captcha; if you are in a situation where you find it hard to view the visual captcha — either because you’re at a non-graphical display, or because the specific visual challenge we offered you turned out to be unusable in a given situation, feel free to give the audio captcha a try. We’ve worked hard to ensure that the audio captchas work on different hardware/software combinations, and you do not need any special hardware (or software) other than a sound card to be able to use them.

Interesting that they changed the meaning of the wheelchair icon. Back in January when I wrote about Google being inaccessible to blind people, the wheelchair just symbolized a popup version of the same image.
screenshot of the google account signup captcha
Original Google CAPTCHA as described in Captcha usability revisited: Google inaccessible to blind people

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5 Responses to “Google Release of Audio Alternative to CAPTCHA”

  1. Rajesh Anandakrishnan Says:

    Hi Jesper, Please have a look at the collection of Captchas, good & bad in my blog and encourage us by leaving your comment on same.


  2. Maria Terry Says:

    I find it very interesting that they would use the wheelchair symbol for the link to the audio. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to use a speaker or some other symbol for sound. In one respect I can see that in some cases this link might be used by someone that was hearing impaired but since when did a wheelchair have anything to do with hearing?

  3. jeffrey Says:

    I dont really find the wheelchair symbol appropriate either. But i like the audio initiative google is taking. It seems that the whole internet is slowly shifting and will become primarily an audio visual experience.

  4. JayEB Says:

    I almost fell off my chair when I read the line: “the wheelchair just symbolized a popup version of the same image”. Makes you wonder who was in charge of setting this all up at Google and one of the few mistakes they have made in my experience.

  5. yea Says:

    have you ever listened to the audio captcha? It is insane and impossible to make out.