US President Donald Trump announced on Friday that amidst the outbreak of the deadly Corona-virus in the country as well as the entire world, America is badly lagging behind the other developed nations when it comes to using Corona-virus testing apparatus. And so, the President has stated that a website would be launched with the help of Google that would help the countrymen determine if at all they need to perform a Corona-virus test on themselves. This website would also help let people know about where and how they can obtain the test kits or the apparatus.
Now the main issue is there is no such website that would guide people for the Corona-virus testing. The announcement made by Trump has taken the tech giant aback. Google had the least idea that Trump would be announcing such a thing.
A source from Google stated that the top management of the firm was taken by surprise on hearing about the announcement coming directly from the President. In fact, according to Google, the President had made a completely wrong statement. There would be a site for Corona-virus testing. However, that will not be coming from Google, but from Verily, who is a sister company to Google.
The search giant tweeted a statement 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.”
Earlier, even this was not supposed to be the plan. Verily had plans of creating the website exclusively for health care workers. When Trump made such an announcement unexpectedly, Verily thought of giving everybody access to the testing site. However, it has limited the website for providing information regarding the Corona-virus test apparatus only for people residing in the San Francisco area.
Google made no statements regarding any of this. A spokesperson from Verily stated that they intended to reach out to those people who were at the highest risk of contracting the disease. It was also inclusive of healthcare workers. The spokesperson also stated that Verily is collaborating with firms like Quest Diagnostics and Labcorp in this task. It is also taking the assistance of some local organizations to find out what would be the best way to work. Verily claims that they intend to develop a tool to help people with the virus test.
So far, it is not known as to whether Google or Verily were even aware of Trump’s plans. However, Google CEO Sundar Pichai did not even provide the slightest of hints in a memo circulated across the entire organization on Thursday. Pichai has stated in the memo that Verily has some plans to help the people of the US with the COVID-19 testing.
The White House did not say a word with regard to all of this. However, it did not deny the fact that Google was unaware of Trump’s announcement on Friday. In fact, pretty recently, White House Corona-virus coordinator Debbie Birx gave a briefing about the working of the entire test website. She went on to say, “Clients and patients and people who have interest can fill out a screening questionnaire.” If the answers provided by the people give any indications of them suffering from COVID-19, the site will take them to the closest drive-through testing site. Once the testing is done, the results for the same would be out in 24-36 hours.
There are a lot of questions that remain unanswered on how Verily’s website would work and how it would manage data handling. There are even doubts about whether patients can get themselves appropriately tested through this site. Only time would tell.