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Google’s coronavirus screening website is live, but it’s not the resource you want

Published Mar 16th, 2020 6:50AM EDT
Google Coronavirus Website
Image: Alba Vigaray/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

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  • Google sister site Verily opened a limited COVID-19 screening site that lets people in two Bay Area counties register for testing.
  • Verily’s screening and testing site doesn’t seem to be the nationwide resource President Trump promised from Google, and which Google then said it was developing.
  • Certain conditions apply, and not everyone registering for a free test will qualify, with patients who are already showing coronavirus symptoms being advise to seek medical care.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

One of the measures that President Trump announced on Friday when he declared the coronavirus national emergency was a website that Google was supposedly developing to facilitate the access to coronavirus testing. Google had 1,700 engineers working on the project, he said. But it turned out that Google didn’t really know it was making such a website. Instead, Google-sister company confirmed that a more limited site was in the works and that it wasn’t the nationwide project Trump referred to. Since Friday Google confirmed it’s working with the US government on a nationwide site, stopping short from revealing any specific details about it. Verily, meanwhile, launched its coronavirus screening site, proving this isn’t the COVID-19 website you expect.

Hosted over at Verily’s Project Baseline the website lets US residents located in the Bay area (Santa Clara County and San Mateo County), and who can speak and read English, to register for a free COVID-19 test.

Anyone looking to take advantage of the program will have to be 18-year-old or older, and willing to sign a COVID-19 Public Health authorization form.

To get to the actual test, you’ll have to register with a Google account, although the data Verily obtains and generates won’t be linked to Google’s data related to your account. Verily will also ask a bunch of questions to determine whether you qualify for the screener (images above). If you’re selected, you’ll be notified on how to get one — from Verily’s blog:

Californians will be able to take an online COVID-19 screener survey through Project Baseline beginning Monday, March 16. People who meet eligibility and requirements for testing will be directed to mobile testing sites based on capacity, where they will complete a nasal swab test. Once tested, individuals will be informed of their COVID-19 test results within a few days.

Unfortunately, the website doesn’t cover children, so you won’t be able to register anyone younger than 18. Also, in case you’re already showing symptoms that may indicate a coronavirus infection (fever, coughing, and shortness of breath), you should get proper medical attention. Verily’s screener can’t help with that.

The project might be expanded to other counties in the future, but there’s no guarantee that Verily’s project will grow into Google’s now-official nationwide coronavirus website. It’s still unclear when that website will be launched, although Google will surely address these matters soon.

If you live near those two counties, and you want to register for testing, follow the guidelines at this link, which is also where you can sign up for the COVID-19 test.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.