Following a press conference by President Trump on the COVID-19 outbreak, in which he touted Google's plans to design a site where people could visit to have questions answered and be directed to testing centers, there was some confusion when the media said it was actually a life-sciences sister site, Verily, that was developing it.
However, Saturday night, Google confirmed it was, in fact, creating such a site. In a series of tweets, Google announced it "is partnering with the U.S. government in developing a nationwide website that includes information about COVID-19 symptoms, risk, and testing information."
A central repository of information
As the coronavirus has spread, there has been increased pressure on the federal government to come up with a comprehensive response.
Google's latest announcement says the site is in addition to what Verily is doing, which is much more limited, in that only people in the San Francisco Bay area would be able to do risk assessments and get scheduled for testing.
Google clarified it was taking the following measures:
- Promoting on its homepage greater awareness of simple measures citizens can take to prevent the spread of the disease.
- Promoting authoritative information through Google Search and YouTube.
- Taking measures to protect users from misinformation, including phishing, conspiracy theories, and malware.
- Rolling out free global access to its advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to its G Suite and G Suite for Education customers until July 1.
- Financially supporting global relief efforts.
Google said it was "fully aligned and continue to work with the U.S. government to contain the spread of COVID-19, inform citizens, and protect" the public's health.