The new tracing app will be using a Bluetooth-based framework to keep track of the spread of the virus.
The partnership was officially announced by Fred Sainz, Senior Director, Corporate Communications at Apple, in a blog posted at Apple Newsroom. Sainz said, “In this spirit of collaboration, Google and Apple are announcing a joint effort to enable the use of Bluetooth technology to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of the virus, with user privacy and security central to the design.”
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many companies across the world have been proposing an application to track the infection via smartphones. These contact tracing apps have been essential to at least help contain the spread of the virus.
“A number of leading public health authorities, universities, and NGOs around the world have been doing important work to develop opt-in contact tracing technology. To further this cause, Apple and Google will be launching a comprehensive solution that includes application programming interfaces (APIs) and operating system-level technology to assist in enabling contact tracing. Given the urgent need, the plan is to implement this solution in two steps while maintaining strong protections around user privacy,” added Sainz.
As part of the partnership, Google and Apple will be releasing iOS and Android APIs in mid-May for health authorities. The said apps will also be available for download for users via their respective app stores.
Also, Google and Apple will work to enable a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform. “This is a more robust solution than an API and would allow more individuals to participate, if they choose to opt in, as well as enable interaction with a broader ecosystem of apps and government health authorities. Privacy, transparency, and consent are of utmost importance in this effort, and we look forward to building this functionality in consultation with interested stakeholders. We will openly publish information about our work for others to analyze,” said Sainz.
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, also announced the partnership via Twitter.
A separate tweet from Apple’s Chief Executive Tim Cook was also posted.