Updated: April 10, 2020 11:37:43 pm
Apple and Google on Friday announced a partnership in which the two tech giants will help governments and health agencies track the spread of the coronavirus using Bluetooth technology. Both companies are launching a tracing tool for iOS and Android through which it would be easier to notify people via smartphone if they come into contact with someone with the Covid-19.
The two companies will launch an API (or developer tool) in May that will “enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities.” The apps are set to be made available via the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store.
“Google and Apple are announcing a joint effort to enable the use of Bluetooth technology to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of the virus, with user privacy and security central to the design,” Apple and Google said in a joint statement.
“In May, both companies will release APIs that enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities. These official apps will be available for users to download via their respective app stores,” and Apple release said. Such a collaboration between the two tech giants, both running their own competing smartphones and operating systems, is unprecedented in more ways than one.
This is essentially a contact tracing method that would work by using the smartphone’s Bluetooth technology. If someone tests positive for the novel coronavirus, a warning would be sent to the smartphone owner. No GPS location data or personal information would be recorded.
“Privacy, transparency, and consent are of utmost importance in this effort, and we look forward to building this functionality in consultation with interested stakeholders,” the companies said.
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