It’s not every day that you see two giants in the tech industry work together in such a big way. As the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, governments and health authorities are constantly finding solutions. With that in mind, Apple and Google are working together to enable the use of Bluetooth for better contact tracing. (Yes, the same Bluetooth that is on wireless earbuds and smartwatches.)
Why Contact Tracing?
Because COVID-19 can spread when people are close to each other, public health officials identified contact tracing as a valuable tool in containing its spread. Contact tracing closely monitors every person who came into contact with someone who has the virus.
How Apple and Google Can Help
With that cause in mind, Apple and Google will be launching a comprehensive solution that includes:
- Application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities
- Development of a Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform built into Android and iOS
Since there is an urgent need for this, both companies decided to have a solution in two steps. The two companies will first provide APIs in May to support apps from public health authorities. Those apps will be available in Google Play and Apple’s App Store.
In the coming months, they will then build a Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform into Android and iOS. This will be a better way to opt-in a lot more people and interact with apps and government health authorities. The companies are doing these solutions with privacy, transparency, and consent in mind.
Since they both can’t do all this themselves, they have made draft documentation for this joint effort public. Check out how the system would work through the photos you see below:
I know that tech enthusiasts would rather see the latest and greatest phones that both companies have to offer. But there’s a time and place for that, and I’m happy to see Apple and Google work together for a common cause.