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Making support accessible: why Google joined Be My Eyes

October 23rd, 2019

Editor’s note: Today’s post comes from Will Butler of Be My Eyes, whose recent partnership with Google makes support more accessible for people who are blind or have low vision.

As a blind person, accessibility is everything. If the products or services that I use aren’t accessible, I can’t communicate with friends and family, hold down a job, buy things, or invest my money. This experience is a reality for the over 253 million people who are blind or have low vision, and the millions more who face daily accessibility barriers with the products, services, and websites they use.

Be My Eyes enables people who are blind or have low vision to live more independently with the support of nearly 3 million sighted volunteers. These volunteers are a lifeline for many people around the world, providing a pair of eyes over a quick video call to help with everyday tasks—like helping someone figure out when their chicken is finished cooking, play video games and learn how to use a new washer for the first time.

Be My Eyes App
Left phone: Shows the Google profile on the Be My Eyes Specialized Help platform. Right phone: Shows a Be My Eyes call with a Google support agent helping with a Pixelbook

Often Be My Eyes users need help with a task—like setting up a new phone—that requires an expert pair of eyes. Over the last year, Be My Eyes has partnered with companies and organizations, like Google and Microsoft, who use the app to provide specialized support for their products.

Using the Be My Eyes app, someone can get help directly from Google’s Disability Support team. This means that if someone with low vision wants help turning on screen reader support for their Pixel phone, they can talk to a Google support agent directly to get help with their question. The Google Assistant can help with this, too. By saying “Hey Google, open Be My Eyes for Google” you’ll be immediately connected to the Disability Support team.

One of the coolest parts about the accessibility community is the spirit of collaboration that exists. Today, together with Google and Microsoft, we’re calling for more technology companies to join the Be My Eyes platform, make your support center accessible with video, and help this community of people is more independent. Become part of this mission by joining us today—email partner@bemyeyes.com.