At today’s press conference in which US President Donald Trump declared a national emergency, he also mentioned that Google is developing a website as a part of the US’ strategy to tackle COVID-19. His announcement startled several including Google itself who later clarified that Trump’s statement regarding the portal was an absolute lie.
Trump said that the website would play a vital role in the Coronavirus containment strategy and would be a demonstration of the country’s testing capabilities.
He said, “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. We have many, many locations behind us, by the way. We cover this country and large parts of the world, by the way. We’re not gonna be talking about the world right now, but we cover very, very strongly our country.”
However, Google confirmed that it’s not developing any website to tackle Coronavirus. Instead, another Alphabet company ‘Verily’ is working on it. It makes more sense owing to the fact that Verily is more actively involved in the healthcare sector and not Google.
While Google and Verily share the same parent in Alphabet, they are both different companies and Trump administration got confused between the two.
Verily’s statement read:
“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.”
Statement from Verily: "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.
— Google Communications (@Google_Comms) March 13, 2020
Trump, in his statement, mentioned that “it’s going to be very quickly done” while Verily says the website “is in early stages of development” and not ready to roll out as of now.
The key takeaways from Trump’s statement are: firstly, Google is not developing a website, Verily is. Secondly, the website isn’t ready to be launched yet, it’s in the initial stage of development.
Even if you assume that anyone could be easily confused between Google and Verily (owing to the fact that they have the same parent), Trump lied by indicating that the website is almost ready and available for roll-out, but it isn’t.