Global tech giants, Google and Apple, who had reportedly announced that they were co-developing an exposure notification tool earlier on April 10th, are one step closer to rollout the tool to the general public.
The tech giants launched a software that would help public health organizations develop apps that use this new exposure notification tool. Apple, particularly, has deployed a software update for iOS devices, which some Apple users can download immediately. However, this big launch has also raised two questions; whether any government agencies would truly develop any apps that incorporate these tools? and would people actually use them?
Both companies released a joint statement that said the exposure notifications technology is currently available on both Android and iOS. This new technology is now in the hands of all the global public health agencies, who would take the lead while, both Google and Apple would continue to back their efforts.
After a late April release of the technology’s beta version, Google and Apple on Wednesday formally announced that the API (application programming interface) for their exposure notification tool would be released to public health agencies.
As per the companies, various nations as well as three US states, namely South Carolina, North Dakota, and Alabama, would base their respective digital contact tracing applications on the tool. While Google and Apple consulted with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to develop the tool, there are no signs that common nation-wide app would be launched in the U.S.
North Dakota, among the earlier adopters of this new tool, has previously struggled with its own contact tracing technology. The app was known as CARE19. The state also highlighted its struggles in getting Google and Apple to let CARE19 use the exposure notification tool.
However, the CARE19 app utilizes location data, which the Google and Apple tool forbids, which led to North Dakota building a separate app that does not use location data and can thus use the new tool.
Meanwhile, of the numerous countries that are turning to contact tracing to control the spread of the virus, Switzerland, Austria, and Ireland have committed to adopt the new contact tracing tool.