The two giants incorporate contact detection technology into the iPhone and Android mobile operating systems
Apple and Google have unveiled an unprecedented collaboration to add special technology to their smartphone platforms that will notify users if they have come in contact with a person infected with the coronavirus. Users will be able to choose through the operating system to use this technology, which will be able to monitor, approximately, 1/3 of the world’s population.
This technology, known as contact detection, is designed to limit the spread of the new corona, asking users to quarantine or self-isolate after contact with an infected person.
In two steps the development of special technology
Silicon Valley’s two competitors said on Friday that they were developing the technology in iOS and Android operating systems in two steps. In mid-May, companies will add the ability to exchange wireless anonymous information on iPhones and Android phones through applications run by public health authorities. Companies will also release special frameworks for public health applications to manage their functionality.
This means that if a user is tested and tested positive for COVID-19 and adds this data to the public health application, users with whom they have been in close contact with the previous days will be notified of this development. This period maybe 14 days, but health services may set a time limit that they deem appropriate.
The second step will take longer. In the coming months, both companies will add technology directly to their operating systems, so that this contact tracking software works without the need to “download” an application. Users have to choose to use it, but this approach means that many more people can be included in the data provided. It is worth noting that Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android are used by about 3 billion users, which is more than 1/3 of the world’s population.
The pressure for an action brought historical cooperation
The pandemic has so far killed nearly 100,000 people and infected 1.62 million people. Governments have asked millions of people to stay in their homes, sending the world economy … into the Tartars. The pressure is mounting to ease the restrictive measures and get people back to work. “Contact detection” is a key part of this effort, as it can help authorities recognize a possible resurgence of the virus as people return to their activities.
However, this technology remains controversial because it involves the exchange of sensitive health information by billions of people through mobile devices that are constantly transmitting their position.
What do they answer to those who consider their technology “controversial”
Apple and Google said Friday that their system protects users’ privacy, and requires no consent or location data. The technology will also not alert users to who came in contact with or where it occurred. The companies said they could not access the data and noted that the entire system could shut down when required.
This close cooperation between these great technological rivals is extremely rare, as they are two companies that have been competing for many years at many levels. However, now both are under pressure to use the vast resources they have to help fight the pandemic.
“All of us at Apple and Google believe that there has never been a more important time to work together to solve one of the world’s most pressing problems,” they said in a statement.
Contact detection technology is not the first step against coronavirus and its disease for technology companies. Google launched an information website in March, while Apple released its own recording tools for iPhone users. Apple has also provided more than 20 million masks to healthcare workers, while Verily, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is conducting diagnostic coronary tests in some parts of California.