Google CEO Sundar Pichai Apologized to Donald Trump, Google Working on COVID-19 Website

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by Darya Rudz · 4 min read
Google CEO Sundar Pichai Apologized to Donald Trump, Google Working on COVID-19 Website
Photo: World Economic Forum / Flickr

Currently, Google is working on a website devoted to COVID-19. Serving an informative function, the website will also remove fake information about the virus on YouTube, Google Maps, Google developer platforms, and across ads.

Last Friday, the U.S. President Donald Trump revealed that Google is currently working on the screening website that addresses COVID-19 education, treatment and prevention, and local resources across the nation. According to Trump, 1,700 engineers under the tenure of Google CEO Sundar Pichai have joined the process.

Trump stated:

“I want to thank Google. Google is helping to develop a website. It’s gonna 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.”

He continued:

“We have many, many locations behind us, by the way. We cover this country and large parts of the world, by the way. We’re not gonna be talking about the world right now, but we cover very, very strongly our country. Stores in virtually every location. Google has 1,700 engineers working on this right now. They have made tremendous progress.”

Google itself did not comment on the statement at once. Probably, the giant was not ready for that announcement as the site did not exist yet. However, on Sunday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai released an official announcement to confirm Trump’s words.

Pichai wrote:

“We’re partnering with the U.S. government in developing a website dedicated to COVID-19 education, prevention, and local resources nationwide. This includes best practices on prevention, links to authoritative information from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and helpful tips and tools from Google for individuals, teachers and businesses.”

In addition to serving an informative function, the website will also remove fake information about COVID-19 on Google Maps, YouTube, various Google platforms for developers, and in ads.

The initial version of the website will be available later today.

Why Google CEO Sundar Pichai Apologizes to Trump?

On the everyday press briefing at the White House today, Donald Trump said that Sundar Pichai called him to apologize. It was not immediately clear what the apology was for, however, Trump explained.

He stated:

“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. I don’t know where the press got their fake news, but they got it someplace.”

Trump continued:

“As you know, this is from Google [holds up printout of Google Communication’s statement on Twitter]. 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.”

When reached for comment, Google said it has nothing to share about the call for an apology. Besides, Google did not clarify how many people are involved in the development of the website, but it does not take 1,700 engineers.

Mixing Up Projects

The US VP Mike Pence tried to make the situation clear. He said:

“I know Google issued a statement that they are planning to launch a website. I think they gave a date of Monday, March 16th and we’re working literally around the clock and I know that our whole team is working on the public and private partnership. Couldn’t be more grateful to all at the hard-working people at Google who are helping to put this website together.”

It has turned out that there are two different efforts. The first one is Google’s work on informing users about coronavirus. As for the second one, it refers to the Alphabet‘s Verily unit and its efforts to launch a pilot website to enable individuals to do a risk assessment.

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