Apple, Google team up on COVID-19 contact tracing

Apple, Google team up on COVID-19 contact tracing

Two of the tech industry’s biggest companies – Apple and Google – announced Friday afternoon that they are jointly working on technology to help trace and track the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The two companies plan to release APIs and OS-level technology that will allow government agencies and healthcare groups to alert users when they may have been exposed to the virus.

“Since COVID-19 can be transmitted through close proximity to affected individuals, public health officials have identified contact tracing as a valuable tool to help contain its spread,” the two companies said. “A number of leading public health authorities, universities, and NGOs around the world have been doing important work to develop opt-in contact tracing technology. To further this cause, Apple and Google will be launching a comprehensive solution that includes application programming interfaces (APIs) and operating system-level technology to assist….”

The technology will be rolled out in two phases: in May, the companies plan to release APIs to enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps that will be available in the companies’ respective app stores. After that, the Bluetooth-based technology will be built into operating systems – what Apple and Google called a more “robust” solution. They also stressed that protecting privacy will be an important consideration.

The companies unveiled draft technical documentation offering more specifics, but did not offer a more detailed timeline for when the tracking system would be in place.

“All of us at Apple and Google believe there has never been a more important moment to work together to solve one of the world’s most pressing problems,” the two companies said. “Through close cooperation and collaboration with developers, governments, and public health providers, we hope to harness the power of technology to help countries around the world slow the spread of COVID‑19 and accelerate the return of everyday life.”

Credit: Computer World

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