Google answers naysayers - all systems go for a COVID-19 website

On Friday, President Trump announced that engineers at Google were working on a website focused on helping get information out on the coronavirus. By Friday evening the usual suspects in the left-wing media were calling that information a lie, something that President Trump just made up out of thin air and Google didn’t even know in advance that he was going to make such an announcement. Guess what happened Saturday evening? Google cleared it all up. Let’s just say there’s a lot of tweets that have not aged well after that clarification.

The left and their willing cohorts in the media are desperate to turn the COVID-19 pandemic into the end of Trump’s presidency. The Trump administration team leading the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been clear from the beginning, it’s an all-in approach. Google’s parent company Alphabet confirmed working on a website for people to get information on coronavirus testing. CNBC viewed internal memos about it. Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said in an email to employees Thursday that Verily and Google are working on a new effort to help with coronavirus testing. The company asked employees if they want to volunteer in the effort. Most of the work is still in the planning stage and the effort was the idea of employees at Google wanting to do something to help people get information. Verily is a Google subsidiary, a life sciences company.

“Yesterday at TGIF, someone had a question about whether Verily could assist in the effort to test people for the COVID-19. I know we are all looking for ways to help right now, so I checked in with their team to see if they could use support from Google and our other bets for a new effort being planned,” Pichai said. “The good news is that a planning effort is underway to use the expertise in life sciences and clinical research of Verily in partnership with Google to aid in the COVID-19 testing effort in the U.S.”

Sounds good, right? The science research affiliate of Google is teaming up with Google engineers to put together a website to get out information on testing kits and locations. It is called Project Baseline. It is a tool, a website where testing sites and other information can be distributed from public health officials and healthcare agencies. If you go to the website link you will see that at the bottom of the home page, Stanford Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, American Heart Association, and Google are all listed as partners. The Project Baseline website apparently will have a separate page for COVID-19 information, apart from the research section.

“As more test kits become available, the planners are looking to develop a pathway for public health and healthcare agencies to direct people to our Baseline website, where individuals who are at higher risk can be directed to testing sites based on the latest guidance from public health authorities,” Pichai said in the memo.

Project Baseline, which says it’s “collaborating to build the next generation of healthcare tools and services” is an initiative that maps health data points used in clinical research. That research is used in collaboration with other researchers, clinicians, engineers, designers, and volunteers, according to Baseline’s website.

Verily is already working on developing a small body-worn temperature patch that transmits data to a phone application for early diagnosis of flu-like sicknesses.

Google tweeted Friday evening that it is developing a triage tool to help with COVID-19 testing it will deploy first to its Mountain View, California headquarters. Verily is in the early stages of development and the roll-out will be slow. Just like that, Wired and Verge wrote articles alleging that Google was caught off-guard by the president’s announcement. Google’s tweet Friday was an effort to clarify that Verily is taking the lead and Google engineers are assisting from their end of the project, as far as I can tell.

The president said Google is “helping develop a website.” Apparently the left was upset that Trump made a little dig at the disastrous roll-out of the Obamacare website as he explained the purpose of the website.

“I want to thank Google,” Trump said. “Google is helping to develop a website. It’s going to be very quickly done, unlike websites of the past, to determine whether a test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby convenient location.” The comment appeared to be a reference to the botched rollout of Healthcare.gov, the website used for the US government’s health insurance exchange, which was premiered by President Barack Obama’s administration.

Anti-Trump Twitter pounced. The lefties in the media were happy to assist.

Saturday evening Google released a Twitter thread of six tweets explaining its role in the process and specifically saying they are partnering with the government. The thread took up where the initial tweets from Friday left off.

The initial reaction by those wishing failure on the Trump administration at the expense of the health of Americans was petty and unhelpful. Instead of criticizing and blaming Trump for a worldwide pandemic it would be nice if the anti-Trump media would take a breath and do some real reporting instead of offering up personal opinions. It will go a long way with the public if reporters would just report on updates and stop wasting energy on trying to do gotcha pieces. The roll-out on this website will be slow and cautious. It will be nationwide, as the administration said, but the first to test it will be in the Mountain View, California community.