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Trump Said Google Is Creating a Coronavirus Screening Website, But It’s Not — Verily Is

Verily, a subsidiary of Alphabet, said the tool is ”in development“ and will first be tested out in the Bay Area

President Donald Trump said on Friday afternoon that Google was building a website to help screen Americans for the coronavirus, but a different Alphabet subsidiary — Verily — says that it’s working on a triage “tool” that will only be tested initially in the Bay Area.

“What I can share at this time is that our tool is in development,” a Verily spokesperson told TheWrap. “Our aspiration is for the triage tool to be used much more broadly. Initially, we’re linking it with several sites in the Bay Area to test and iterate, and collaborating closely with organizations like Quest Diagnostics and Labcorp who are also working on additional approaches to making testing more accessible and expedient in other areas.”

During his press conference, Trump seemingly suggested that the Google website would be operating nationally, while Vice President Mike Pence said that the White House would be able to give “specific guidance” on Sunday as to when the website would be available.

“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,” Trump said at the Friday press conference. “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. Stores in virtually every location. Google has 1,700 engineers working on this right now. They have made tremendous progress.”

But shortly after Trump’s announcement, Google’s communications team on Twitter appeared to refute Trump’s assertion that the website would be “very quickly done.” In a statement shared on the Google Communications Twitter account on behalf of Verily, Verily said the tool was in “early stages of development” and that they had “the hope of expanding more broadly over time.”

Carolyn Wang, a communications lead for Verily, also told The Verge that the “triage website” was initially supposed to be for health care workers, not the general public.

“Now that it has been announced the way it was, however, anybody will be able to visit it, she said. But the tool will only be able to direct people to ‘pilot sites’ for testing in the Bay Area, though Wang says Verily hopes to expand it beyond California over time,'” The Verge reported.