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Google says nationwide coronavirus website is in development (updated)

Verily's Bay Area 'triage' pilot is just one part of Google's plans.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
March 15, 2020
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Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

President Trump misspoke when he said Google was developing a national screening and test result site for potential coronavirus patients (that's just Verily's Bay Area pilot for now), but there was apparently a degree of truth involved. In a series of clarifying tweets, Google said it was teaming with the US government on a "nationwide website" that would provide info about COVID-19 symptoms, risks and testing info. The company characterized this as separate from the Verily project and other coronavirus information efforts.

The internet giant said it was "fully aligned" with the government and helping to fight the spread of COVID-19, although it didn't explain the gap between its plans for a nationwide site and what Trump said.

It's not shocking that Google would have multiple projects in the works. Verily may be a sibling brand, but it has its own goals. And Google knows that it's frequently the first destination for people seeking health info -- it's almost obligated to provide knowledge and curb misinformation. The more effort it puts into addressing the coronavirus outbreak, the more it helps both the public and its bottom line.

Update 3/15 5PM ET: Google has sent word that an "initial version" of the site will be ready late on March 16th, with updates and features coming on an "ongoing basis."

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