Google is creating a website intended to connect people in the U.S. with coronavirus testing, but it's not clear when the end product will be up and running.
President Trump said at a press conference on Friday that Google is working on a website that will allow people to type in various symptoms, be provided with a recommendation on whether to seek testing based on those symptoms and then learn where they can receive a test nearby.
Shares of Alphabet (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report, Google's parent company, closed 9.2% higher on Friday; stocks rallied in the last half-hour of trading as Trump declared coronavirus a national emergency.
Trump claimed that 1,700 Google engineers are working on the website, but the company could not immediately be reached to verify that and other details of the project. Later on Friday afternoon, however, Google sent a vaguely phrased tweet saying that Verily is in the "early stages" of developing a testing services, and is also developing some manner of triage tool.
Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai told employees in an internal memo viewed by CNBC that "a planning effort" is underway to leverage Verily, the company's life sciences division, in a testing effort.
Pichai also said that Google is in discussions with government officials to employ Project Baseline, a Verily website that helps to enroll users in research studies, to direct "individuals who are at higher risk" to testing. It is not clear whether this is the same website referenced by Trump in Friday's press conference.
The U.S. has 1,268 cases of the virus and domestic deaths have climbed to 41, but the number of confirmed cases is expected to sharply increase in the coming days.
A group of CEOs, including the heads of Walmart (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report, Target (TGT) - Get Target Corporation Report, Labcorp (LH) - Get Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings Report and other U.S. firms, also joined Trump and other federal officials at the Rose Garden on Friday to discuss a broader joint effort by the private firms to make testing and other resources more widely available in the coming weeks. There did not appear to be any Google official present.