Apple And Google Are Preparing New Coronavirus Tracking App
We will all remember 2020 as the year of the pandemic. However, the COVID-19 virus keeps on spreading and is nowhere to an end, which is why health experts are thinking of more ways to prevent the spread and eventually stop the virus.
What’s new in the tech world are official efforts from Apple and Google. Last week, the two tech giants (and rivals) surprised everyone with an announcement about their partnership. As we can see, the two tech giants are working on a new system that will enable widespread contact tracing in an effort to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
How Will The App Work?
As the companies announced, this effort is barely two and a half weeks old. That said, there are many open questions about how it will work. On Monday afternoon, the companies shared more details with the media.
Basically, the idea is that as jurisdictions flatten the curve of infection and start reopening parts of society, the COVID-19 may still “live” on surfaces and be spread between people. This is why a comprehensive “test and trace” scheme by Apple and Google was developed.
The opt-in system which they have discovered uses Bluetooth to transmit a randomized and anonymous identifier to nearby devices. This way, the person who is infected or has been in contact with an infected person can choose to upload their anonymized data, which is then broadcast to other devices.
If a match is found based on the time spent and distance between the nearby devices, the user will be told that they may have been exposed to a person – without showing their identity – who has been in touch with the virus.
Contact Tracing Has Proven Effective
Apple and Google said that this service is privacy-focused. What’s interesting is the fact that contact tracing has proven somewhat effective in parts of the world – allowing authorities to understand hotspots of infections.
The system does not use location data, the user’s randomized identifiers will change every 15 minutes to prevent tracking, and the data collected will be processed on the device, without leaving a user’s phone.
As to the exact date of when this tracing system will be available for the public, Apple and google said that they will roll out software updates in mid-May to begin support for contact tracing. Public health authorities will also incorporate the contact tracing API into their apps, which can then be downloaded from the Apple and Google app stores.