Apple & Google to Make COVID-19 Tracking Tool For Mobile Devices

Both the technology are come together to help authorities fight this pandemic and offer their solutions on apps.

Tech News
2 min read
Google and Apple have never worked together for any tech product.

In an unprecedented move, technology giants Apple and Google on Friday announced that they are partnering to work on a contact tracing platform for mobile phones that will be made available to government’s across the globe.

This platform will be used to trace contact history of people who report positive for coronavirus.

Initially, the feature will work through existing apps from public authorities. It will also alert the person if they have come in contact with anyone who has reported positive for the virus in the past two weeks.

And in the coming months, both Google and Apple will build this feature (contact tracing) into their respective operating system.

“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,” both companies said in a joint statement.

As a part of this partnership, they will be launching multiple forms of solutions, which includes “application programming interfaces (APIs) and operating system-level technology to assist in enabling contact tracing,” the statement added.

“The APIs that will launch in May that will be interaoperable between Android and iOS devices using apps that have been designed by various public health authorities. “These official apps will be available for users to download via their respective app stores,
Google & Apple statement
The communication between two devices will happen without sharing data.
The communication between two devices will happen without sharing data.
(Photo: Google blog screen grab)

Contact tracing has been extensively deployed by authorities across the globe, including India, where the government recently launched its Aarogya Setu app on Android and iOS.

How the contact tracing will alert users on their phone.
How the contact tracing will alert users on their phone.
(Photo: Google blog screen grab)
This method is seen as the most reliable source of getting through a large number coronavirus affected people, in a cost-effective manner.

But it’s hard to deny the privacy concerns that arise when two of the biggest data sources in the world join hands to work on a pandemic. Thankfully, they claim to be taking care of that and ensuring the information about their work (and its progress) are openly published for everyone to see and analyse.

“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 have affirmed.

Both Google and Apple understand the gravity of the situation which has forced them to join hands and they want to help people make the best use technology and slow the spread of COVID-19 across the world.

Liked this story? We'll send you more. Subscribe to The Quint's newsletter and get selected stories delivered to your inbox every day. Click to get started.

The Quint is available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, click to join.

Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!