Apple and Google reveal a sneak peek of their new COVID-19 contact tracing system that will send you a notification if you were near someone who has the coronavirus
On April 10, we wrote about Apple and Google after the two tech giants joined forces to develop a contact tracing technology that will send you a notification if you were near someone who has the coronavirus. The new contact tracing system will 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.
At the time, the tech giants said this: Apple said: “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.”
Now, Apple and Google are now giving us a glimpse into what their new contact tracing might look like. On Monday, they revealed sample code and screenshots of example software. The two companies revealed sample code and screenshots, called illustrative concepts, of example software using the companies’ contact tracing software. To be clear, Google and Apple are not the ones building contact tracing apps. Instead, they built the underlying technology plumbing, called application programming interface (APIs) into iOS and Android.
The technology is meant to be incorporated with apps made by government health agencies, which will be responsible for verifying and logging people’s COVID-19 status. The tracing system is not exactly the software that government health agencies will use, but it’s base (or API0 they can plug into without having to build an entire software program from scratch.
In addition, the contract tracing system will leverage Bluetooth technology to trace and notify people who may have been infected with Covid-19 using Bluetooth signals from people’s phones anonymously. The technology will also be used to keep tabs on which smartphones have been physically near each other. However, it does not collect any GPS location data.
Below are the new user interface images published on Monday what users would see on their iPhones and Androids when the contact tracing app is first booted up
Here’s what a user would see if they were potentially exposed to someone with COVID-19.
Notifications would also include official information and next steps provided by government health authorities.