President Donald Trump erroneously stated in an emergency address that Google is building a coronavirus testing website.
Trump said 1,700 Google engineers are working on a coronavirus screening site that could be launched as early as this Sunday.
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) March 13, 2020
On the contrary – not only is the site not ready to launch but it’s not even being developed by Google. The site is being developed by a company called Verily, which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet.
Google and Verily are entirely different companies, which Google itself clarified in a tweet:
“We are developing a tool to help triage individuals for Covid-19 testing. Verily is in the early stages of development, and planning to roll testing out in the Bay Area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time.
“We appreciate the support of government officials and industry partners and thank the Google engineers who have volunteered to be part of this effort.”
Verily provided its own statement to TechCrunch:
“Verily is developing a tool to help triage individuals for COVID-19 testing. We are in the early stages of development, and planning to roll testing out in the Bay Area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time,” the company said in its statement. “We appreciate the support of government officials and industry partners and thank the Google engineers who have volunteered to be part of this effort.”
Another point Trump left out, as you can read in the statement above, is the site will be rolling out in the San Francisco Bay Area first, with the “hope” of eventually rolling out to other areas.
That’s a fairly important piece of information to leave out in a statement that was broadcast live to the entire United States.
Just for comparison’s sake, read Trump’s statement below:
“I want to thank Google. Google is helping to develop a website. It’s going to be very quickly done, unlike websites of the past, to determine whether a test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby convenient location… Google has 1,700 engineers working on this right now. They have made tremendous progress.”
Based on what we’ve learned since Trump’s statement, here are the key takeaways from all of this:
- Verily is developing a coronavirus screening website, not Google.
- Google and Verily are both owned by Alphabet, but are otherwise separate companies.
- People will be able to visit the website and enter their symptoms to discover if they’re consistent with symptoms of coronavirus.
- The website will help direct individuals to the nearest facility where they can get properly tested.
- Results of in-person tests can later be retrieved on the website.
At this time we still don’t know when the site will launch, or any other pertinent information.