Two days after U.S. President Donald Trump announced that Google is racing to build a website to help Americans find it New crown virus During the test, people were still confused about what actually happened. After the announcement, report Appeared Google doesn't fully understand the plans Trump says the company is participating in. Given this threat, New coronavirus This is not a good sign for the United States.
Trump told a news conference on Sunday that his previous comments on Google were "confirmed" and thanked "Google's head, a great gentleman." But it is becoming clearer that Google itself has not built the site Trump described last week. This is what really happened:
Google does have plans to deal with the coronavirus, but it's not what the president says. Instead of creating a website that guides people to test locations, Google is building an easier way. the company Announced on Saturday It "cooperated with the U.S. government to develop a nationwide website with information about COVID-19 symptoms, risks, and testing information."
Trump's promised website on Friday sounded more like a product being developed by life science research firm Verily, which is Google-related but a different company. Following Trump's speech, Freeley said on Friday that it is in the process of classifying potential coronavirus patients "in the early stages of development" and "plans to test in the Gulf region over time And more broadly. "Verily was once a subsidiary of Google, but now both Google and Verily are subsidiaries of its parent company, Alphabet. Since Google and Verily are two separate companies, it's difficult to know how well the two companies collaborate in these areas.
When Recode contacted Verily for more details about the project, the company Guide us to a blog post about the project It was published on Sunday. According to Verily, the new coronavirus classification website will run through the company's existing Project Baseline website and will launch on Monday, March 16. However, the details of how it works are inconsistent with the website Trump described on Friday.
Trump announces building a non-existent website
Trump said in a bold statement Friday that "Google has 1,700 engineers at work" on a website that will help people figure out if a coronavirus test is needed and direct it to a test site. As we all know, this statement is not entirely true. The reality of Google's role in tackling a coronavirus outbreak is more complex and more productive in some ways.
In an hour Presidential Rose Garden Friday Speech, The company ’s media team disapproves of Trump ’s announcement, Tweet statement The product from Verily, distinguished the two companies, and clarified that the Verily website is only in beta and is almost not ready to launch.
This is actually a generous description of the truth behind the Trump Declaration. According to The New York Times, Verily's plan Build a website to help coronavirus testing Being "infant". Verily has only about 1,000 employees. The 1,700 people Trump claimed in his speech actually refer to the number of Google engineers, and Thursday before Trump ’s speech, Fill out a volunteer form to help Verily Classify its coronavirus classification site in the next "days and weeks". Even so, the Verily project simply means Used by medical staff.
Arguably, Trump's Rose Garden speech changed these plans. It wasn't until Trump's speech that Google announced plans for its information site, and because of Trump's speech, it seemed to speed up the launch of Verily's classified site. The Trump administration also sent an updated statement on Saturday saying the diversion site Can launch There are nine hotspots of coronavirus cases in the United States. Then, when asked directly on the Google website and when it was launched at a Sunday press conference, Vice President Mike Pence said, "Sometime early next week, we will build a website." He did not specifically say that it would be The Google site, instead, hints that state governments and local retailers will become partners.
This is different from the reality described by Trump in his speech on Friday-there is no reason to believe that most Americans will be able to visit websites that direct them to nearby test sites in the near future-but this is a start. As the epidemic continues to develop in the United States, it is undoubtedly a good thing that it is easier to obtain information about the epidemic.
Perhaps, if all goes well, Google and its affiliates will develop various websites that could one day save lives. Verily said that currently it will launch a pilot for residents of the Gulf region on Monday.
Jared Kushner talks to Verily's CEO, who describes a project in the work
So it wasn't very accurate that Trump lied last Friday. Worse than that. Indeed, Trump pitched based on piecemeal information compiled by his female son and senior adviser to President Jared Kushner.
The behind-the-scenes story of how the president shared this intricate misinformation publicly is a crazy but familiar journey. In duel report Both the New York Times and the Washington Post published articles late on Saturday explaining how Kushner turned to tech executives to help fight the coronavirus outbreak. Kushner talked to Verily's chief executive Andy Conrad and found a promising sale that described a project in the project. Until the day before Trump announced the major Rose Garden program, on Thursday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai called on Google engineers to volunteer for "a program job" to help them with coronavirus testing. At some point before that, Kushner and his colleagues decided to publicly announce the half-baked Verily plan and add the Google name to it.
Part of that public statement includes a poster with a very simple flowchart to illustrate how a hypothetical Google website works. Dr. Deborah Birx, Coronavirus Coordinator for the White HouseINato, Showing the chart on Friday and describing how to start testing with "Filter Websites … Driven by Google." According to The Washington Post, "Pence and Kushner personally worked with digital employees to design the graphic elements of the poster." There is no indication that Google is involved in this part of the planning process.
However, Trump's overly optimistic sales strategy helped to some extent. On Sunday, Verily announced a new "cooperation with the California Governor's Office, federal, state, and local public health authorities." The company stated:
Californians will conduct an online COVID-19 screening survey through Project Baseline starting Monday, March 16. Those who meet the testing conditions and requirements will be directed to the mobile detection site based on their capacity and will complete the nasal swab test. Once tested, individuals will be notified of their COVID-19 test results within a few days.
It's unclear when Verily originally planned to launch its trial site, and who knows how long Google will make its internal volunteer work public if Trump did not misunderstand them in an extremely public speech.
Furthermore, in a public health crisis, fast-moving and unconventional ideas do not maintain the status quo well. When talking about Google's website, Trump said: "This will be done soon, which is different from past websites." In his speech, Google was not actually established. In one case, if the corona virus website that has been built hastily fails, it may do more harm than good.
Trump's corona virus misinformation shows why more misinformation must be prevented
Ironically, all real efforts against a coronavirus outbreak have focused on Google Protect people from misinformation. the company Say it's trying to stop "Phishing, conspiracy theory, malware, and misinformation" on the platform, and "promote authoritative information via Google Search and YouTube." There is also a new box on the Google homepage that provides Five tips people can do to stop transmission Coronavirus. The company's rapid response to the misinformation Trump shared-within an hour of the president's speech-is also exhilarating.
Still, it remains to be seen whether the rapidly growing Verily website will make a big difference. To our knowledge, it will be designed to direct Bay Area residents to any of the three local coronavirus test sites. If we believe the latest statement from the Trump administration, although it is unclear where these hot spots are, the site can be used in up to 9 hot spots across the country. Information sites that Google announced and Trump did not mention may sound the most useful to most people.
The value of a boring but useful website seems to be the most optimistic manifestation of all of them. Despite Trump describing a transformative and ambitious website that doesn't exist, Google and other tech companies have been building smaller but more productive solutions, including Simple but authoritative link to the World Health Organization (WHO) And other trusted resources. It would be great if the Silicon Valley giants were able to resolve U.S. testing overnight, just as banning all international travel would prevent the virus from spreading further within the United States, which would be amazing. But that is But this is not how it works.
A magic site-much like Badly planned travel ban -Not a panacea. Experts say Social alienation is key to helping slow transmission Pandemic. Other basic considerations Love washing hands and staying informed Productive too. If technology companies can now focus their resources on anything, these efforts should focus on disseminating effective information about coronavirus outbreaks and how to slow them down. Despite Trump's misleading remarks, it sounds like Google is making progress in this area.
March 15, 2020 at 6:10 pm EST: The story has been updated in detail at a White House press conference on Sunday, including a speech by Vice President Pence.