US President Donald Trump has announced that Google is working on an informational coronavirus website to help Americans find testing locations.
However, just two days after the announcement, the tech company made a call to slightly delay the launch of the website to “later this week.”
What went wrong?
Unfortunately, in the aftermath of the President’s announcement, Google was not really fully aware of the plan Trump said the tech company is participating in.
And given the threat the novel coronavirus poses to the US, this is not a good sign at all.
Google announces delay on the launch of the informational coronavirus website
During a press conference last Sunday, Trump said Google is building a site to help Americans with the novel coronavirus concerns. His comments about the tech company had been “substantiated” and thanked the “the head of Google, a great gentleman.”
And just a few hours later, a site made by Google’s sister company – Verily – went live. This site has a tool for coronavirus risk screening that directs residents to two counties in Northern California to test centers.
However, that was very short-lived as Verily ran into trouble. People with symptoms were told they weren’t eligible for the screening program. Meanwhile, those who were needed a Google login to be able to use the tool.
And to top it all off, the Verily site reached capacity by Monday morning.
As a result, Google said that the informational website it planned to launch this week would be delayed. This announcement came not long after Vanity Fair reported that the President was angry at Jared Kushner for overselling Google’s plans.
Given what we saw today, it is clear that the Google website Trump described last week is not exactly what the American will use to find the coronavirus testing.
Here is what really is going on…
If you think you finally got the gist, the situation is much more complicated than that.
Let us enlighten you then.
In an effort to help flatten the curve, Google really does not have a plan for responding to the coronavirus pandemic. But it is not what the President said it was.
On Saturday, Google announced that it is “partnering with the US Government in developing a nationwide website that includes information about COVID-19 symptoms, risk, and testing information.”
Unfortunately, the site Trump promised sounds much more like what Verily launched, which is related to Google but a distinct entity.
Verily said that the tool of triage potential coronavirus patients “is in the early stages of development” and that it “is planning to roll testing out in the Bay Area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time.”
Verily used to be a subsidiary of Google, however, both companies are now subsidiaries of their parent company Alphabet. Since the two are now separate companies, it is hard to know how closely the two are collaborating on the efforts.
Verily’s coronavirus triage site works through the company’s existing Project Baseline website, which the company launched on Sunday, March 15th.
The screening process starts by asking people if they are symptomatic. But only those who say that they have severe symptoms will be directed to log in with a Google account to find a testing site.
There is no doubt that the coronavirus is now a global threat. Many events and conferences have already been cancelled or postponed because of health concerns.
The best thing to do is to follow the respective government’s orders to help prevent the spread of the virus to the vulnerable ones.