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Donald Trump says Google CEO Sundar Pichai apologized to him, likely for coronavirus website fiasco

Yasmin Ahmed     March 16, 2020

US President Donald Trump on Monday said that Google CEO Sundar Pichai called him to apologize. This came after conflicting reports on a website that Google was supposed to be creating for the US government. Trump on Friday surprised a lot of people, including possible people within Google, when he claimed that 1700 Google engineers were working on a website that would help people in the US learn more about coronavirus and would help people register for Covid-19 tests. Hours later, Google denied that any such website was in the works. Instead, said the company, a website with limited scope only available in Bay Area in California was in the works by Verily, a company part of Alphabet Group, which is also the parent group of Google.

Later, Google said that there was indeed a website that Verily and Google were building around coronavirus but that its scope is very limited. This website actually went live today, and it is only available to people in Bay Area and it doesn't help people suspected of having coronavirus all that much.

Now, Trump is claiming that all the confusion about this website is due to fake media and that Google CEO has apologised to him. He also calls Pichai a great gentleman.

There is no clarity about why Pichai apologized to Trump. Talking to reporters, the US president said, I want to thank the people at Google and Google Communications because as you know, they substantiated what I said on Friday. The head of Google, who is a great gentleman -- said -- called us -- and apologized.

On Friday, Trump, after declaring a state of emergency in the US had said that Google was going to develop a website, to facilitate testing at a nearby convenient location. This was in reference to coronavirus pandemic.

Google has 1,700 engineers working on this right now. They have made tremendous progress," Trump had said.

However, Google had distanced itself from what Trump said. The tech giant, however, said that its sister company Verily was working on a website which would assist people in dealing with the virus. The site will reportedly function for the Bay Area in San Francisco, as of now.

Verily had said, "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."

Many publications carried the news. Trump, however, termed the news as fake and said, I don't know where the press got their fake news, but they got it someplace. He then held up Google Communication's statement in front of the press, according to TechCrunch, and said, As you know, this is from Google. They put out a release and you guys can figure it out yourselves and how that got out and I'm sure you'll apologize. But it would be great if we could really give the news correctly. It would be so, so wonderful.

Google Communications in its latest tweet said, We are fully aligned and continue to work with the US Government to contain the spread of Covid-19, inform citizens, and protect the health of our communities.


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