Apple and Google have decided to put aside competition and actually work together to join the fight against COVID-19 – The joint effort will enable the use of Bluetooth technology to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of the virus.
Since the virus can be transmitted through close proximity, contact tracing has been known to be a valuable tool to help contain the spread. As such, a number of leading public health authorities, NGOs, and universities around the world have been conducting important work to develop opt-in contact tracing technology.
Apple and Google’s comprehensive solution involves the use of API and Operating System-level technology to assist in enabling contact tracing. The plan is to implement the solution in two steps while maintaining strong protections around user privacy.
In May, both companies will release API’s that enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities. Such apps can be download via their respective app stores.
Apple and Google will work to establish a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform by building this functionality into the underlying platforms. This is a more robust solution as compared to an API and would allow for more individuals to participate.
This will also enable interaction with a broader ecosystem of apps and government health authorities.
Both companies believe that this is an important moment to work together to solve one of the world’s most pressing problems.
Through close collaboration and cooperation with our public health providers, developers, and governments, they aim 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.