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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.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

By the numbers: Verily has 1,000 employees in total. On Thursday Google/Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai sent out a call for volunteers from Google to help Verily with its COVID-19 project, and received 1700 offers.

What they're saying: "Google is helping to develop a website," Trump said. "It's going to be very quickly done, unlike Websites of the past — to determine if a test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby, convenient location."

  • Google said in a tweet that workers at its Verily unit "are developing a tool to help triage individuals for COVID-19 testing."
  • "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 in the tweet.
  • Google declined to comment beyond the tweet. It's not clear how many of the volunteers for the Verily project will end up actually contributing to it.

The big picture: Google has lots of employees in other parts of the company working on other virus-related issues.

  • It has been working with public health authorities across the globe to ensure authoritative information is displayed any time someone enters a virus-related search query.
  • And teams in search, advertising and YouTube are working to prevent misinformation and profiteering.

What's next: At the Friday press conference, Vice President Mike Pence promised more details and a launch date for the project by Sunday.


Editor's note: The original headline of this story, "Trump's Google math doesn't add up," has been changed to more accurately reflect the questions surrounding the president's announcement of the Google project. This article has been updated with Google's latest statement.

Go deeper

Updated 37 mins ago - Health

The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Omicron's blitz around the world has underscored the need for a new arsenal of COVID vaccines and therapeutics, experts say — and that may require an effort akin to Operation Warp Speed 2.0.

Why it matters: The virus will continue to evolve, potentially in a way that further escapes vaccine protection, and the best way to prevent more global disruptions to everyday life is to have tools ready to combat whatever comes next.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

Microsoft's metaverse maneuvering

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Microsoft is pitching investors and regulators that its $68 billion Activision Blizzard deal is all about the metaverse, that nebulous buzzword taking the tech world by storm.

What they're saying: By my colleague Stephen Totilo's count, Nadella used the word "metaverse" at least five times in his conference call discussing the deal. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick mentioned the metaverse four times, while Microsoft gaming chief Phil Spencer used the term twice.

Women in same-gender partnerships face a double pay gap

Expand chart
Data: The Hamilton Project; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

A married female couple will bring home lower wages, on average, than an opposite-gender married couple or a same-gender male couple.

Why it matters: Women in same-gender partnerships can experience (at least) two kinds of discrimination, based on their gender and on their sexual orientation.