Apple and Google announce they will join forces to fight the coronavirus. The two groups will allow the use of Bluetooth technology to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of the virus, with user privacy and security at the heart of the design.
Since COVID-19 can be transmitted through proximity to an infected person, health officials have determined that contact tracing is a valuable tool to help limit the spread of the virus.
Apple and Google will therefore launch a comprehensive solution that includes APIs and operating system technology to help activate contact tracking. Given the urgent need, the plan is to implement this solution in two stages, while maintaining solid protections around user privacy.
Initially, in May, the two companies will launch APIs that allow interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from health authorities. These official apps can be downloaded by users through the App Store on iOS and the Google Play Store on Android.
In a second step, in the coming months, Apple and Google will work on the implementation of a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracking platform by integrating this functionality into the underlying platforms. This solution, more robust than an API, would not only allow the participation of a larger number of people, on a voluntary basis, but also the interaction of a wider ecosystem of applications with government health authorities.
“Through close cooperation and collaboration with developers, governments and healthcare stakeholders, we hope to harness the power of technology to help countries around the world slow the spread of COVID-19 and accelerate the return to a normal life ”, conclude Apple and Google.
Tim Cook, Apple’s boss, and Sundar Pichai, Google’s boss, both tweeted about the initiative. The two leaders say they will work together on this subject.