In a statement, Alphabet Inc’s Google disclosed, over the last three days, it had surveyed a few users on their health at the request of Carnegie Mellon University researchers who are aiming to forecast the spread of Wuhan coronavirus infections.
Google’s Opinion Rewards app, which exchanges responses to surveys from Google and its clients for app store credit, queried users on whether anyone in their household has had “a fever of at least 100 degrees along with a sore throat or a cough”.
“At the request of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) researchers working to help forecast the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S., we recently began running a Google Survey questionnaire asking people if they have flu-like symptoms,” said Google’s spokesman Matt Bryant. “People have to opt in to take the survey and the information the researchers will receive is aggregated and completely anonymized.”
CMU’s spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Accordging to Google, it has ongoing partnerships with many academic institutions, including CMU.
Earlier this month the university’s DELPHI group had said it planned on apply its research methods to help track the Wuhan coronavirus, which appeared in China in the province where Beijing has its only level 4 bio-safety lab.
Google also stated, any surveys collecting health-related information include a special warning before users see the questions.
Verily, a Alphabet company, created an online screening tool to help direct people in three California counties to testing sites for the virus.