Mar 17, 2020 - Technology

Google delays its coronavirus info portal

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Google will not launch a nationwide website for coronavirus information as planned today. Instead, it hopes to have the website up later this week.

Between the lines: As Axios reported this weekend, the national website was only planned after President Trump blindsided the company by announcing it at a Friday press conference.

The big picture: A website from Google's sister company Verily, aimed at helping patients determine whether they need coronavirus testing, launched Sunday in two Bay Area counties. But the site quickly reached capacity.

What they're saying: "With local and national guidance evolving rapidly, Google will continue working with relevant agencies and authorities to roll out a website later this week that will surface authoritative information for people in the U.S., including on screening and testing," a statement from Google read.

Go deeper

Trump's Google announcement raises questions

Photo: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

President Trump said Friday that Google is building a website to help people determine whether they need a test for COVID-19 and that "Google has 1700 engineers working on this right now." But Google said Verily, the life sciences unit of its parent company Alphabet, is "in the early stages of development" on such a tool.

Update: Google said in an updated statement Saturday it is helping with a national site, but it stressed the testing triage site is being done by sister company Verily, and they are aiming to start testing soon in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Mar 15, 2020 - Technology

Google's national coronavirus website rolls out

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Google late Friday debuted a new website devoted to information about COVID-19 and the novel coronavirus, including local information, prevention tips, search trends and additional resources for individuals, educators and businesses.

Why it matters: Google's effort, designed to help get the most accurate information before the largest number of people, has been complicated as Google has had to scramble to catch up to President Trump's pronouncements.

Google scrambles to catch up with Trump's website claims

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

At a Sunday news conference, President Donald Trump doubled down on his claim that Google is working with the government to build a nationwide website to help manage coronavirus diagnosis and treatment.

Reality check: Google was blindsided by Trump's Friday announcement of such a project. The company is now working on two different tracks: ramping up a small pilot project that partially resembles what Trump spoke of Friday but had much more modest scope, while also scrambling to launch an entirely new, less personalized nationwide information portal about the virus.