Apple, Google team up on COVID-19 contact tracing tool

The global health crisis brought together governments, the medical community, and technology companies together with the main objective of addressing, understanding, and combating COVID-19.

Two of US’ technology giants come together to build a tool that would enable and help governments and relevant agencies reduce the spread of the virus with the use of Bluetooth. The companies assure people that “user privacy and security (are) central to the design.”

One of the most critical aspects of halting the spread of coronavirus which causes COVID-19 is contact tracing. Governments imposed lockdowns and quarantine to contain the virus.

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In May 2020, Apple and Google will release application programming interfaces (APIs) and operating system-level technology that will work on both Android and iOS. The apps would be ready for download through the respective app stores.

Bluetooth for contact tracing

As health authorities have forecast that this global health crisis can go on for months and it might take a year or more for a vaccine, the two companies will work to enable a “broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform by building this functionality into the underlying platforms.”

The companies believe that since Bluetooth is now an essential technology for individual device users, more people would be encouraged to use it. This will “enable interaction with a broader ecosystem of apps and government health authorities.”

Apple and Google stress how they value user privacy, transparency, and consent especially when hackers don’t even letup during the uncertain times.

“We will openly publish information about our work for others to analyze,” the companies said in a media release. “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. 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.”