“Google is going to develop a website — it’s going to be very quickly done, unlike websites of the past — to determine if a test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby convenient location,” President Trump said at a press conference yesterday.
“Google has 1,700 engineers working on this right now. They have made tremendous progress.”
CNN is now implying that the President’s comments are fake news.
“Google will not be publishing a national-scale website for coronavirus testing anytime soon, contrary to claims made by President Donald Trump during a Friday news conference,” claimed CNN.
“Instead, a health-focused subsidiary owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, intends to launch a small-scale website next week to begin to triage California-based patients.”
It is true that the triage app is being launched by an Alphabet subsidiary, Verily, but many people still use “Alphabet” and “Google” interchangeably. YouTube, for example, is still widely described as a “Google-owned company,” despite the fact that it is now technically owned by Alphabet, which was set up by Google executives in 2015 as part of the tech giant’s corporate restructuring.
In a tweet, Google confirmed that Verily is working on a triage app that will first be trialed in California.
“We are developing a tool to help triage individuals for Covid-19 testing,” said the statement.
“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.”
Google later made their statement ever clearer:
Google’s statement that it hopes to expand the tool more broadly over time is not as optimistic as Trump’s claim that it will be “very quickly done.”
But in all other regards, it confirms Trump’s statement — the tech giant is working on a screening tool, it is being supported by government officials in its efforts, Google engineers have volunteered to work on it (it’s unclear if the number is 1,700) and it does hope to make the tool broadly available.
In a statement to CNN, the White House reiterated that it is working with Google on the screening tool.
“The Trump administration is working with Google to develop a website Americans can go to determine whether a test is needed and, if so, facilitate testing at a nearby location. We expect to have more details in the days ahead.”