Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) announced a joint effort to 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.
According to a blogpost by Alphabet, since COVID-19 can be transmitted through close proximity, public health organizations around the world have identified contact tracing as a valuable tool to help contain its spread. A number of leading public health authorities, universities, and NGOs around the world have been doing important work to develop opt-in contact tracing technology. To contribute to this cause, Apple and Google are planning to launch 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.
In addition, in the coming months, Apple and Google will be collaborating on enabling a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform by building this functionality into the underlying platforms. This is a more vigorous solution than an API and would allow more people to participate, if they choose to opt in, as well as allow communication with a broader ecosystem of apps and government health authorities. “Privacy, transparency, and consent are of utmost importance in this effort, and we look forward to building this functionality in consultation with interested stakeholders. We will openly publish information about our work for others to analyze,” the Company explained
“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. 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,” Alphabet states.