Isn’t it nice when we put our differences aside for the greater good? Apple and Google have joined forces in the fight against COVID-19, with the tech giants coming together to develop a comprehensive contact-tracking app. Aiming to chart the outspread of the virus within communities, the Google and Apple tracking system will work in tandem with existing public health apps on both Android and iOS. It’s a huge undertaking by two of the biggest companies on the planet, and it could prove to have enormous benefits.
Contact tracing can help slow the spread of COVID-19 and can be done without compromising user privacy. We’re working with @sundarpichai & @Google to help health officials harness Bluetooth technology in a way that also respects transparency & consent. https://t.co/94XlbmaGZV
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) April 10, 2020
The first stage of the Google and Apple tracking project involves the two entities releasing application programming interfaces to allow for interoperability for health-related apps. From there, a broader Bluetooth-based contact-tracking feature will be built directly into both Android and iOS. While that may sound like fancy tech-speak, it essentially means the two companies are opening their doors for competing developers to work side-by-side for the first time. Users who download the app will be able to report if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19. The system will then alert people who have come in close contact with the confirmed case of the update, urging them to isolate or 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,” said the two companies in a joint 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.”
There is no official date marked for the Google and Apple contact-tracking app release, however, reports are suggesting the API will land mid-May. It could be a huge advantage in the battle against further contraction, which at this stage stands at 1.9 million cases worldwide. Any update is a step in the right direction, but seeing it come from Google and Apple is a landmark moment. Irrespective of the outcome, the premise of two monster entities, traditionally locked in competition working together is enough to inspire us all to put our petty squabbles aside.