In a press conference at the White House today, President Trump announced that 1,700 Google engineers are working on a corona virus screening site. This spot was said to be the first step in a new screening process that was designed to prevent people from finding out if their symptoms required more testing of the location of new transit test stations. But Trump was wrong. This screening website is not developed by Google . Instead, it is being built by Verily, Alphabet's life science division – and it's not yet ready to go.
While both share the same parent company in alphabet, These are two very different companies. Also as a veritable one In a statement released almost three hours after Trump's announcement, this website isn't quite ready.
“Truly, a tool is being developed that can be used to identify people for COVID-19 tests. We are in an early stage of development and plan to launch testing in the Bay Area with the hope of expanding more broadly over time, ”the company said in its statement. "We appreciate the support of government officials and industry partners and thank the Google engineers who have volunteered to participate in this effort."
Truly, it is expressly pointed out that the website is in an "early stage". White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Debbie Birx and Trump did not mention that this website was not yet finished or would only be launched in the Bay Area.
Instead, everyone who watched the press conference felt that the website was essentially finished, especially given its central role in the entire screening process.
"I want to thank Google. Google helps develop a website, ”said Trump. "Unlike previous websites, it will be very quick to determine whether a test is warranted and to facilitate testing in a nearby convenient location." We have many, many locations behind us. By the way, we cover this country and large parts of the world. We are not going to talk about the world at the moment, but we are covering our country very, very strongly. Shops in practically every place. Google currently has 1,700 engineers working on it. You have made tremendous progress. "
When Birx introduced the new screening approach, she explicitly stated that the process will begin with the screening website. Given some of Trump's previous comments at the press conference, some experts believed the website would be ready by Sunday evening.
Here is Verily's statement about the plans for his website, a spokesman said: “What I can tell you right now is that we're trying to make the triage tool much broader. First, we link it to multiple locations in the Bay Area to test and iterate, and work closely with organizations like Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp, who are also working on additional approaches to make testing in other areas more accessible and convenient . "
In a statement other than The Verge, Verily said that the tool was originally intended for healthcare workers and that the President's announcement changed course to become a public website. Whatever the original intent of the project, it seems pretty clear that Verily was somewhat surprised by the announcement.
Now it's not uncommon for someone outside the technology world to use Alphabet and Google interchangeably. Still, Verily is not Google and the Bay Area is not the whole country. These are important facts.