Earlier this year, Apple and Google jointly launched a Contact Tracing App to help health workers monitor and trace people infected with the novel coronavirus.
The app uses bluetooth ping between smartphones to notify users if they have been in contact with someone that tested positive to Covid-19.
Apple and Google are now launching a new auto-generated software framework to help states deploy their own contact tracing apps.
The new framework is developed as an extension of the earlier notification framework.
This new system allows public health authorities to avoid the broader developmental work of launching a standalone app. The app’s framework can now be simply configured to their state’s needs.
iOS and Android users will no longer need to download a separate app by public health, but will use the app Apple and Google makes on behalf of public health departments.
What this means is that health agencies will no longer need to build a contact tracing app of their own in order to take advantage of the technology, though they will still be able to offer one if they choose to.
The iOS version was launched yesterday, starting with users of iOS 13.7. Android users are to expect the feature delivered to their devices as the month proceeds.
Google’s decision to push the update till later reflects complexities of the Android ecosystem that make it harder to quickly push new features to users.
The contact tracing app works cross-platform, and as before, both tech companies have said that the app will not collect user data, but will use bluetooth ping for it’s workability, and send push notification to users when it is required.
Apple and Google confirms that the change was based on conversations they had with state public health authorities, who told the companies they were having difficulty building apps themselves.
While Apple and Google take over the app development part, public health authorities will focus on providing information on how to get tested after receiving the notification of possible exposure, how to reach the authorities for help, and other necessary health information.