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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

MacKenzie Scott donates another $2.7 billion to 286 organizations

MacKenzie Scott with her former husband, Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon. Photo by Greg Doherty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

MacKenzie Scott announced Tuesday that she and her husband, Dan Jewett, had donated $2.74 billion to 286 different organizations, including community-based nonprofits and organizations focused on racial justice.

Why it matters: It's the next phase of what the New York Times describes as a "highly unconventional approach" to philanthropy from one of the richest women in the world.

Heat wave enveloping West will shatter records, spark wildfires

The sun sets behind power lines in Rosemead, California on June 14, 2021, amid an early season heatwave across much of California this week. Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

A dangerous and widespread mid-June heat wave is bringing blowtorch-like heat, skyrocketing power demand, and “critical” wildfire danger to much of the West Tuesday through this weekend.

Why it matters: The heat is building in a region that is experiencing a record drought, leading to dangerous fire weather conditions, straining electrical grids, and causing water supplies to dwindle further. The heat itself may prove deadly.

Politico's top editor leaving for NBC

Screenshot: Youtube

Politico’s top editor Carrie Budoff Brown is joining NBC in a high-level executive position at the network that includes overseeing the "Meet the Press" franchise, sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: Budoff Brown has been with Politico since its earliest days in 2007 and is admired among newsroom staff. Her departure will be a major loss to the organization.