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Google launches coronavirus test site created by Verily but it is not much of use

Ankita Chakravarti     March 16, 2020

Google's sister company Verily has finally unveiled a screening website for people to get tested for COVID-19. However, there is a catch, the website is only available to people in the San Francisco Bay Area. Prior to the launch, Verily said in a statement, "We 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... We appreciate the support of government officials and industry partners and thank the Google engineers who have volunteered to be part of this effort.

In order to use the screener, the user must be eighteen years of age or older, should be a US citizen and should be able to speak English. Once the user has created an account and signed the authorization form, he will be required to complete the screener. During the authorization process, Verily will inform users about the personal information that it will collect from them. The personal information would comprise of name, address, email address, phone number and other various health information, which can be used by government authorities for health-related purposes.

Elaborating on data collection and data sharing process, Verily website stated, Information may also be shared with certain service providers engaged to perform services on behalf of Verily, including Google, which Verily leverages for certain technology and services, including cloud services, security services, data storage, website hosting, and other support functions.

Verily' site also reassured users that any information that they provide will not be shared with their insurance company or will be connected to their Google accounts. However, in order to use the screener, it is mandatory to have a Google account.

The website was launched days after Donald Trump issued a statement about a website on coronavirus screening that he claimed Google is building. He said, "Google is going to develop a website. 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 has 1,700 engineers working on this right now. They have made tremendous progress.

Google, on the other hand, denied the claims made by President Trump. Taking to Twitter, Google mentioned that they are not working on any website as mentioned by President Trump. They made it clear that they are working on a much smaller website, through Verily, which is part of Google's parent group Alphabet.

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