The White House has been undergoing daily conferences, meetings, and screening for news related to the Corona-virus. Every other day, a press meeting is being held by President Trump to release information about the COVID-19 to its citizens. It came as a surprise when Donald Trump mentioned in his press conference that the CEO of Google called him up to apologize. On being further questioned about the matter, Trump disposed it by praising the communication team of Google, for supposedly validating Trump’s comment on Google’s COVID-19 screening site.
In his speech, Trump said, “I want to thank the people at Google and Google Communications because, as you know, they substantiated what I said on Friday.” He further continued by saying, “The head of Google, who is a great gentleman — said — called us — and apologized. I don’t know where the press got their fake news, but they got it someplace. As you know, this is from. They put out a release [drops the paper on the ground], and you guys can figure it out yourselves, and how that got out, and I’m sure you’ll apologize. But it would be great if we could give the news correctly. It would be so, so wonderful”.Source
While saying the above statements, President Trump held out a printout of Google’s said apologetic comment to him on Twitter.
To confirm the news, a leading news portal called the TechCrunch tried to reach both the White House as well as Google’s communication team. There was no answer from the White House end, whereas Google said that it has nothing to comment upon the alleged statement by Trump.
On the other hand, the CEO of Google posted new updates on Google’s blog to clear the air of confusion surrounding the efforts that are being taken by Google’s team to gather more information around the COVID-19 situation. The Alphabet’s Verily Life Sciences team has been working hard to build a screening site in the Bay Area. The company says they wish to build it with a nationwide goal in focus.
In his statement on Friday, Trump said that almost 1700 Google engineers were working on this Verily project. And as it is a Verily project, it was never supposed to be a consumer release. According to Trump, Google did not release any information or gave any clarifying statements on what their efforts have been and how many people are working on the project. He said Google does not require 1700 engineers only to build a site.
On Friday, Trump said, “I want to thank Google. Google is helping to develop a website. It’s going to be very quickly done — unlike websites of the past — to determine whether a test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby convenient location. 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 going to 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”.
We do feel that Google was not ready for the statements to be made public so soon. After Trump gave his statement, the team of TechCrunch contacted the team of Verily, and it took them almost 2 hours to get through them. On being asked about Trump’s statement, the team cleared the air by saying that they are working on a far more limited project than what has been described by the statement provided by Trump.
Also, Trump said that no media has been in contact with the team of Verily, which is wrong, as clearly within a few minutes of Trump’s statement, the TechCrunch team did contact Verily to get their statement on the matter.
Vice President Pence, on Saturday, said that Google or Verily would have a pilot demo site ready for a screening test on 16th Monday in the Bay Area. In his comment, he said that he is very thankful to the team of Google for building a site and helping the country altogether. He further said that Google will be launching the site on 16th March and that its team is working very hard to maintain the partnership between the public and private sectors.
But according to Google, they are working on two different projects. One is the spreading of awareness amongst its users through its services, and the other is the Verily Pilot Website, which will be a risk assessment site for users.