Google not building corona screening portal as US President Donald Trump claims

Despite Trump's claim, Google is not developing a nationwide COVID-19 tracking system

author_img Poona M Published :  14th March 2020 12:33 PM   |   Published :   |  14th March 2020 12:33 PM

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Despite US President Donald Trump's claim, Google is not developing a nationwide COVID-19 tracking and screening website in the US. During a press conference, Trump said that 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". "Google has 1,700 engineers working on this right now. They have made tremendous progress," Trump told the media at the White House on Friday.

Google immediately reacted, saying another company under its umbrella called Verily is building a much smaller trial website to direct people to testing facilities in the Bay Area, reports The Verge. "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," tweeted a Google communications account.

"We appreciate the support of government officials and industry partners and thank the Google engineers who have volunteered to be part of this effort," it added. The triage site should be live within a few days, and it will be hosted at "Project Baseline", the Verily website where people can sign up to take part in clinical trials.

At Trump's press conference, Debbie Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, showed a flowchart explaining what the proposed functionality of the website would be. "Nobody from Alphabet or Google spoke at the event, although many executives from other health and retail companies did, the report mentioned.

Trump declared a national emergency to provide disaster funding, speed up the US response to the crisis and offer "maximum flexibility" to attack the problem. There have been at least 2,174 coronavirus cases in the US, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, and 41 deaths to date.

*Edited from an IANS report