Regarding Google, was Trump confused, or did he manipulate Google?

During his Friday National Emergency press conference, President Trump announced that Google would partner with the government to facilitate testing.  The media immediately accused Trump of lying.  The next day, though, Google announced it was partnering with the government.  The press now says Trump is stupid and Google helped him out, but there is an argument to be made that he was quite clever.

At one point during his March 13 press conference, President Trump talked about a partnership with Google:

I want to thank Google. Google is helping to develop a website. It's going to 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. 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 going to 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.

Within hours, the media were out in force, announcing that Google was contradicting Trump.  Here are a few representative examples:

Wired: Trump Caught Google Off Guard With A Bogus Coronavirus Site Announcement.

Forbes: Trump: 1,700 Google Engineers Working On Coronavirus Site. Google Says ... Actually, No.

The Daily Beast: Google Contradicts Trump: Coronavirus Site in 'Early Stages.'

The source for these reports was a tweet from Verily, which Alphabet, Google's parent company, also owns:

In other words, it appeared that Google was just doing its own thing on a small scale.

The story flipped again when, in a March 14 Tweet thread, Google explained that it was partnering with the government (emphasis added):

"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. (1/6)

"Google is partnering with the US Government in developing a nationwide website that includes information about COVID-19 symptoms, risk and testing information. (2/6)

"This is in addition to other measures we are taking, including: a Google "home page promotion" to promote greater awareness of simple measures citizens can take to prevent the spread of the disease; (3/6)

"Work being done by our sister company Verily to launch a pilot website that will enable individuals to do a risk assessment and be scheduled for testing at sites in the Bay Area; (4/6)

"Promoting authoritative information through Google Search and YouTube; taking measures to protect users from misinformation, including phishing, conspiracy theories, malware and misinformation; (5/6)

"Rolling out free access to our advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally until 7/01/20; advancing health research and science; and financially supporting global relief efforts." - Google Spokesperson (6/6)

Then, on Sunday, the New York Times reported that Trump had no idea what he was talking about but that Google was now forced to step in, apparently to help Trump save face.

Who believes that Google, a hard left company that hates Trump, would do anything to help him save face?  Here's an alternative theory: as the Times admits, 1,700 "Google employees [had] said a day earlier that they would be happy to volunteer their time on the project if needed."  However, it's possible that Google was dragging its feet about working with the government.  Alternatively, knowing how much Google hates him, Trump didn't bother to ask.

Trump then presented the partnership as a fait accompli.  At this point, Google had three choices: (1) tell the world that it was not going to help fight the coronavirus, (2) tell the world that it wouldn't join other corporations working with the federal government, or (3) suddenly discover itself in partnership with Trump.

Trump's a bit of gambler and quite a psychologist.  It's entirely possible that he gambled on Google choosing Door No. 3 — and won.

During his Friday National Emergency press conference, President Trump announced that Google would partner with the government to facilitate testing.  The media immediately accused Trump of lying.  The next day, though, Google announced it was partnering with the government.  The press now says Trump is stupid and Google helped him out, but there is an argument to be made that he was quite clever.

At one point during his March 13 press conference, President Trump talked about a partnership with Google:

I want to thank Google. Google is helping to develop a website. It's going to 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. 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 going to 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.

Within hours, the media were out in force, announcing that Google was contradicting Trump.  Here are a few representative examples:

Wired: Trump Caught Google Off Guard With A Bogus Coronavirus Site Announcement.

Forbes: Trump: 1,700 Google Engineers Working On Coronavirus Site. Google Says ... Actually, No.

The Daily Beast: Google Contradicts Trump: Coronavirus Site in 'Early Stages.'

The source for these reports was a tweet from Verily, which Alphabet, Google's parent company, also owns:

In other words, it appeared that Google was just doing its own thing on a small scale.

The story flipped again when, in a March 14 Tweet thread, Google explained that it was partnering with the government (emphasis added):

"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. (1/6)

"Google is partnering with the US Government in developing a nationwide website that includes information about COVID-19 symptoms, risk and testing information. (2/6)

"This is in addition to other measures we are taking, including: a Google "home page promotion" to promote greater awareness of simple measures citizens can take to prevent the spread of the disease; (3/6)

"Work being done by our sister company Verily to launch a pilot website that will enable individuals to do a risk assessment and be scheduled for testing at sites in the Bay Area; (4/6)

"Promoting authoritative information through Google Search and YouTube; taking measures to protect users from misinformation, including phishing, conspiracy theories, malware and misinformation; (5/6)

"Rolling out free access to our advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally until 7/01/20; advancing health research and science; and financially supporting global relief efforts." - Google Spokesperson (6/6)

Then, on Sunday, the New York Times reported that Trump had no idea what he was talking about but that Google was now forced to step in, apparently to help Trump save face.

Who believes that Google, a hard left company that hates Trump, would do anything to help him save face?  Here's an alternative theory: as the Times admits, 1,700 "Google employees [had] said a day earlier that they would be happy to volunteer their time on the project if needed."  However, it's possible that Google was dragging its feet about working with the government.  Alternatively, knowing how much Google hates him, Trump didn't bother to ask.

Trump then presented the partnership as a fait accompli.  At this point, Google had three choices: (1) tell the world that it was not going to help fight the coronavirus, (2) tell the world that it wouldn't join other corporations working with the federal government, or (3) suddenly discover itself in partnership with Trump.

Trump's a bit of gambler and quite a psychologist.  It's entirely possible that he gambled on Google choosing Door No. 3 — and won.