[nexa] Google coronavirus website touted by Trump opens for two California counties - Reuters

Alberto Cammozzo ac+nexa at zeromx.net
Mon Mar 16 13:26:42 CET 2020


Technology News
March 16, 2020 / 7:20 AM / Updated 5 hours ago
Google coronavirus website touted by Trump opens for two California counties
Paresh Dave

2 Min Read

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google sister company Verily launched a
website late on Sunday that invites adults in northern California to
answer questions about their recent health and travel that could result
in their getting a free coronavirus test.
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Google is seen in Davos, Switzerland Januar 20,
2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

U.S. President Donald Trump had thanked Google on Friday for developing
a website that he said would help people determine whether they needed a
coronavirus test.

Verily, a health care technology company owned by Alphabet Inc, said it
worked with some employees at fellow Alphabet unit Google, to develop
the new website, here

The website states Verily is working “with the California governor’s
office to direct high-risk individuals to newly-launched testing centers
in San Mateo and Santa Clara” counties, sometimes by calling those users
directly to set testing appointments.

People showing symptoms of the flu-like virus are meant to seek medical
care, rather than a test through Verily’s system, the company said.

Verily did not respond to request for comment on user activity on the
website in its first few hours.

More than 162,000 people have been infected by the novel coronavirus and
over 6,000 people have died from the disease it causes, COVID-19.

Verily said people’s survey responses would be kept in an encrypted
Google database, access to which is restricted and monitored. The data
would be shared with healthcare authorities but would never be “joined
with your data stored in Google products without your explicit
permission,” Verily said.

In addition, Verily said user-submitted data would be used for research
purposes only with permission, though it may ask for that permission in
the future.

Making a Google account mandatory to use the website drew some criticism
on social media. Verily engineer Ryan Seys responded to one of the
critical posts by writing on Twitter that “we’re trying to make real
impact out here in this time of crisis.”

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