Google & Apple create smartphone software to notify exposure to COVID-19

US computer technology firms Google and Apple have developed software that can be used for making smartphone apps, which would enable user notification of having spent time with a person, who later tests positive for COVID-19.

In April, the companies had announced the unprecedented collaboration to leverage their technology to help trace and contain the spread of coronavirus. Now they have announced that 22 countries and several US states are already planning to build voluntary phone apps using their software.

The software relies on Bluetooth wireless technology

to find, when someone who downloaded the app has spent time near another app user who later tests positive for the novel coronavirus.

Many governments have already tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to introduce their own phone apps to fight the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of those apps have encountered technical problems on Apple and Google Android phones and haven’t been widely used. They often employ GPS to track people’s location, which Apple and Google are excluding from their new tool because of privacy and accuracy concerns.

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