No one wants to be defeated

There’s a scene in Airplane! where a scoop of reporters heads simultaneously into a row of phone booths, and the booths fall straight over. Google found itself facing a sort of electronic equivalent yesterday when the volume of Michael Jackson searches started to look like a malware attack, so their response was to put up a “We’re sorry…” page that required filling out a CAPTCHA to continue. Now, Google does know something about semi-accessible CAPTCHAs–the login page for a Google account includes an audio CAPTCHA, which is usable by blind but not learning disabled individuals (the audio and visual do not match, so people who benefit from multi-sensory input will be even more confused). However, as far as we can tell, yesterday’s CAPTCHA didn’t even have the audio. Not a good precedent for situations where people will be turning to the Web in ever increasing numbers for information on natural disasters or other emergencies. It’s serious…and don’t call us Shirley.

ZD Net UK: Jackson death prompts malware alert at Google

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One Response to No one wants to be defeated

  1. And one year later, research indicates that the audio CAPTCHAs aren’t very usable anyway:

    Blind Bargains: Nearly Three in Four are Unable to Decipher Google Audio CAPTCHA

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