Inside Google and Apple’s joint project to ‘trace’ coronavirus
The measures will bring together the two largest mobile operations in history, to help track and eventually contain the pandemic.
There will be a new opt-in system rolled out over the next couple of weeks, that will allow both phone operating systems to better communicate with each other. Then, each firm will participate in ‘contact tracing’, a system which can identify people in contact with an infected person, and alert users.
For example, if your phone knows where you are going and who you are meeting, then finds out a previous contact has tested positive for coronavirus – you will get an alert asking you to get tested.
"All of us at Apple and Google believe there has never been a more important moment to work together to solve one of the world's most pressing problems," the companies said via joint online statement.
The first step will come via software update starting next month. That will let both systems talk to each other via specific applications provided by public health authorities around the world.
Apple and Google say they will be working together in the coming months to use standard Bluetooth capabilities, that are commonly used to connect your wireless headphones to your smartphone, to help pass on the data.
Both companies were keen to emphasize that “privacy, transparency and consent’ were top priorities in the joint initiative.
"All of us at Apple and Google believe there has never been a more important moment to work together to solve one of the world's most pressing problems," the competitors went on to say in the statement.
"Through close cooperation and collaboration with developers, governments and public health providers, we hope 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."
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