Google's parent company is set to build a website that can help during the coronavirus emergency in the US. On Friday, the US President Donald Trump said that the US government's coronavirus testing apparatus will get an upgrade from Google.
The statement by Trump took the company aback as Google is not the one behind the nationwide website. Trump announced that the search and advertising giant will create a website that will help US citizens and residents to find out if they need a test and where they can find one.
Google leadership was surprised by the statement issued by the US President. Verily Life Sciences, Alphabet's research wing, and Google's sister company will be the one behind the creation of the website.
A statement from Verily on Twitter verified what the President had communicated to the public by saying, "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."
A website for health care experts
According to Verge, the site was intended for health care workers. Verge also said that Verily changed its plans after Trump's unexpected announcement on Friday which led the company to open the site to everyone. The site will be active only in the San Fransico region.
However, Verily said that the initial focus was on the high-risk population which involves healthcare workers as well. The company said that this was not intended just for them. Verily is collaborating with Quest Diagnostics and Labcorp and other local organisations to ascertain the best working plan. The Google subsidiary also said that they are working on a tool that can provide services for "triage individuals for testing."
A memo released by Google CEO Sundar Pichai about the company's coronavirus efforts made no reference to the site. According to the company-wide memo, the CEO said that "a planning effort is underway" for Verily to "aid in the COVID-19 testing effort in the US."
Lack of clarity and coordination
Trump is facing criticism for the disconnect displayed by the government for making statements with no proper background as he said around 1,700 Google engineers are working on the website.
Debbie Birx, the newly appointed coronavirus coordinator talked about how the site would work. But it is unclear how much the Verily site would reflect what Birx and Trump talked about. It is said to be a part of a larger coronavirus package which would involve CVS and Walgreens, and retailers like Target and Walmart.
The late push is being welcomed as a better step to understanding the urgency in which the disease could be contained but the miscommunication is clearly evident.