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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

9 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

9 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

Updated 10 hours ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

Caskets for the dead are carried towards the gravesite as relatives and friends attend a mass funeral for members of a family that is said to have been killed in a U.S. drone airstrike, in Kabul on Aug. 30. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."