Apple and Google Join Forces to Track the Spread of Coronavirus Using Bluetooth Technology


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Apple and Google announced a joint effort on Friday to use Bluetooth technology to track the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Users who opt-into the technology would receive alerts telling them if they had been in contact with an individual infected with the virus.

“Since COVID-19 can be transmitted through close proximity to affected individuals, public health officials have identified contact tracing as a valuable tool to help contain its spread,” the companies said in a joint statement.

“Given the urgent need, the plan is to implement this solution in two steps while maintaining strong protections around user privacy.”

The statement goes on to say that the companies will update their current operating systems in May by releasing a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) that work on both iOS and Android.

There will eventually be an update that allows the systems to work without a specific app, “by building this functionality into the underlying platforms.”

Visual Explaining How Contact Tracing Works via Apple and Google

The companies, which have generally been rivals, noted, “there has never been a more important moment to work together to solve one of the world’s most pressing problems.”

“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,” they continued.

Google’s whitepaper additionally explains that the “list of people you’ve been in contact with never leaves your phone” and that the technology “will only be used for contact tracing by public health authorities for COVID-19 pandemic management.”

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