Alphabet’s research organization Verily is in the ‘early stages of development’ on a tool that will help triage COVID-19 patients, according to Google. The company’s disclosure follows a claim from President Trump that Google is working on a website that will direct the public to places where they can get tested for the virus. It’s unclear whether this in-development site is the same referenced by government officials.
At this point in time, things are a bit confusing. Trump stated on Friday that Google is making a website that’s ‘gonna 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,’ among other things. He also claimed that ‘tremendous progress’ has been made on the site.
Soon after, Google made a statement via its Communications Twitter account, stating that some of its engineers had volunteered to work on a project at Verily, which is ‘developing a tool to help triage individual for COVID-19 testing.’
It’s unclear whether this is the same site that Trump referenced, but the timeline is certainly not as rapid as he had indicated. ‘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,’ Google said.
The tweets come amid a report by CNBC, which said on Friday that it acquired an internal memo sent by Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai to employees. In it, Pichai reportedly said that the Google team was consulted about whether they could help Verily. Such plans are ‘underway,’ according to the leaked memo, which states that the effort will ‘aid in the COVID-19 testing effort in the US.’