Apple, Google team on 'contact tracing' smartphone software to combat spread of COVID-19

Posted:
in iPhone edited April 2020
Apple and Google have announced a joint effort to utilize Bluetooth technology to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of COVID-19 worldwide.

Contact Tracing
Illustration of the contact tracing solution.


Starting in May, both companies will release APIs that enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities to track the spread of COVID-19. These official apps will be available for users to download via their respective app stores.

Apple and Google will work over time to enable a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform. Both companies will incorporate the functionality in Android and iOS as a whole, which allows more individuals to opt in, as well as enable interaction with a broader ecosystem of apps and government health authorities. Apple says that the deeper integration will arrive "in the coming months."

"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," the joint statement said. "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."

Contact tracing can help slow the spread of COVID-19 and can be done without compromising user privacy. We're working with @sundarpichai & @Google to help health officials harness Bluetooth technology in a way that also respects transparency & consent. https://t.co/94XlbmaGZV

-- Tim Cook (@tim_cook)


The pair have already released draft specifications of the underlying technology. Documentation available includes the Bluetooth specification that will be used to track the spread, the cryptography specification, and a framework API. Apple notes that the trio of documents are subject to modification and extension.

"Privacy, transparency, and consent are of utmost importance in this effort, and we look forward to building this functionality in consultation with interested stakeholders," Apple and Google have said. "We will openly publish information about our work for others to analyze."

Apple has already partnered with the CDC to provide a public COVID-19 iOS app, which contains advice on checking for symptoms, plus self-care tips. The app is available across the US, and the majority of its advice is for users in all states. However, Apple has also added state-specific sections which provide access to their regional health departments' coronavirus pages.

The existing app without contact tracing is available for iPhone and iPad. The same information is available separately on Apple's COVID-19 website, which is also being regularly updated.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 42
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Hope it’s not going to be one of those situations where Apple has a bug in their API and Google uses it to opt folk in, even though they opted out. 
    razorpitwilliamlondonBeatsGG1tmayjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 42
    What is Google going to do with all this lovely data when this is all over?
    I really hope that it is not going to absorbed into their 'Borg' data set.

    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 42
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,611member
    Sheesh, that didn't take long. Can't we all just drop the cynicism for just ONE day and appreciate that these two are working together for the common good? I mean, damn!
    williamlondongordoncygatorguyGeorgeBMacBeatsavon b7holyonejcs2305lkruppdewme
  • Reply 4 of 42
    mazda 3s said:
    Sheesh, that didn't take long. Can't we all just drop the cynicism for just ONE day and appreciate that these two are working together for the common good? I mean, damn!
    i appreciate it. i totally get it. so let’s part the wheat from the chaff.

    1) they are going to team up
    2) iOS and Android devices will ping each other within 10m
    3) whomever anyone has been near, where and when will be captured and handed over to any participating gov

    the people get to turn it on if they choose?

    bahaha, nah

    4) the participating governments will use the current emergency powers to make it mandatory for our safety and we will all agree praising such a civic minded idea.

    who you met and then where they went and met and who was in the car with you and for how long.

    cause at the moment the police are stretched thin as arresting people out for a walk without a good reason - so this will free them up to deal with the crisis.

    wow.

    meh, you now get life in jail in australia for coughing and in any other way threatening health workers.

    this’ll fit right in 😂
    BeatsJanNLrandominternetpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 42
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,422member
    Rayz2016 said:
    Hope it’s not going to be one of those situations where Apple has a bug in their API and Google uses it to opt folk in, even though they opted out. 
    So Apple and Google working together, validation for the effort...
    but you obviously don't trust Apple to do the right thing.

    Are you supposing you're smarter than Apple? Surely not. With the two companies working together so often anymore you'd think you and a few others would be getting over your phobia. Apple obviously trusts them and thus they work together. A LOT.

    edited April 2020 Beatsavon b7muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 6 of 42
    sjworldsjworld Posts: 94member
    Rayz2016 said:
    Hope it’s not going to be one of those situations where Apple has a bug in their API and Google uses it to opt folk in, even though they opted out. 
    Trillion dollar company shouldn't have bugs in their APIs.
    avon b7
  • Reply 7 of 42
    B-Mc-CB-Mc-C Posts: 38member
    Suppose someone anonymously self-identifies as having tested positive (as some sort of prank), and then everyone who has been close enough to get a ping from them in the last 14 days is told to self-isolate, resulting in fear and panic. This whole thing is a bad idea.
    blurpbleepbloopwatto_cobraiHy
  • Reply 8 of 42
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,572member
    sjworld said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Hope it’s not going to be one of those situations where Apple has a bug in their API and Google uses it to opt folk in, even though they opted out. 
    Trillion dollar company shouldn't have bugs in their APIs.

    Hahahahahahah. Hahahahhahaha.

    The USA GDP is $22 trillion, so by your logic, all US citizens live in perfect harmony and have zero social problems.

    Bugs aren't afraid of money or the size of a company. Humans develop software and they are prone to making mistakes.
    edited April 2020 Beatsnapoleon_phoneapartGG1fastasleepmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 42
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    mazda 3s said:
    Sheesh, that didn't take long. Can't we all just drop the cynicism for just ONE day and appreciate that these two are working together for the common good? I mean, damn!

    No because Google robbed Apples idea to even have the privilege to be in your knockoff.

    This should be Apple exclusive software.


    gatorguy said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Hope it’s not going to be one of those situations where Apple has a bug in their API and Google uses it to opt folk in, even though they opted out. 
    So Apple and Google working together, validation for the effort...
    but you obviously don't trust Apple to do the right thing.

    Are you supposing you're smarter than Apple? Surely not. With the two companies working together so often anymore you'd think you and a few others would be getting over your phobia. Apple obviously trusts them and thus they work together. A LOT.


    He didn't say he did not trust Apple. He said he didn't trust Google. I'm not sure how you misread that.

  • Reply 10 of 42
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,422member
    Beats said:
    mazda 3s said:
    Sheesh, that didn't take long. Can't we all just drop the cynicism for just ONE day and appreciate that these two are working together for the common good? I mean, damn!

    No because Google robbed Apples idea to even have the privilege to be in your knockoff.

    This should be Apple exclusive software.


    gatorguy said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Hope it’s not going to be one of those situations where Apple has a bug in their API and Google uses it to opt folk in, even though they opted out. 
    So Apple and Google working together, validation for the effort...
    but you obviously don't trust Apple to do the right thing.

    Are you supposing you're smarter than Apple? Surely not. With the two companies working together so often anymore you'd think you and a few others would be getting over your phobia. Apple obviously trusts them and thus they work together. A LOT.


    He didn't say he did not trust Apple. He said he didn't trust Google. I'm not sure how you misread that.

    Apple trusts them, so why wouldn't you unless you doubt their judgement? Not sure how you miss the connection. I guess living in the past clouds things for you?
    edited April 2020 avon b7revenantjony0muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 11 of 42
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    This is great!   Contact tracing is pretty much what every country has used where the spread of the virus has been successfully managed.  Social distancing is helpful but it is temporary and can only slow the spread rather than control it.

    B U T:
    The prerequisite is having sufficient community wide testing to make it worthwhile -- because you first have to identify the infected and infectious person before you can trace their prior contacts.

    Unfortunately Scott Gootlieb, former FDA head, reports that we will have to expand our testing by 2, 3 or even 4 times what it is now to do that effectively.   But, our existing resources are already maxed out and unable to supply more than the million tests it is currently completing.  And there appear to be no plans to expand those resources.

    And further:   The federal government has begun to defund and cancel community based testing and there are rumors that they have declared that there will be no widespread testing.   IF TRUE (and of this administration it is a credible rumor) then contact tracing will be of limited use and we will have to accustom ourselves to living (or dying) with this virus as it pops up and spreads throughout the country.

    Think about it:  How did the virus enter this country and become an epidemic?   A handful of people entered the country and each of them infected several others -- and nobody even knew it was here -- until it was becoming an epidemic.  That scenario will be playing out throughout the nation -- spreading from New York to Kyokuk unseen....

    Hopefully, for the sake of the American people, the federal government quickly establishes the resources necessary to produce and operate the additional testing that is required.  And, that they not only fund community testing sites but help to establish them.   Otherwise....

    edited April 2020 muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 42
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,422member
    This is great!   Contact tracing is pretty much what every country has used where the spread of the virus has been successfully managed.  Social distancing is helpful but it is temporary and can only slow the spread rather than control it.

    Unfortunately Scott Gootlieb, former FDA head, reports that we will have to expand our testing by 2, 3 or even 4 times what it is now to do that effectively.   But, our existing resources are already maxed out and unable to supply more than the million tests it is currently completing. 

    The federal government has begun to defund and cancel community based testing and there are rumors that they have declared that there will be no widespread testing.   IF TRUE (and of this administration it is a credible rumor) then contact tracing will be of limited use and we will have to accustom ourselves to living (or dying) with this virus as it pops up and spreads throughout the country.
    Accept this for what it is: A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tells NPR, "Many of the Community-Based Testing Sites (CBTS) are not closing, but rather transitioning to state-managed sites on or about April 10." The agency and a spokesperson for FEMA say the CBTS program originally included 41 sites. It was intended as a stop-gap to bring testing to critical locations, especially for health care facility workers and first responders.
  • Reply 13 of 42
    sjworldsjworld Posts: 94member
    mjtomlin said:
    sjworld said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Hope it’s not going to be one of those situations where Apple has a bug in their API and Google uses it to opt folk in, even though they opted out. 
    Trillion dollar company shouldn't have bugs in their APIs.

    Hahahahahahah. Hahahahhahaha.

    The USA GDP is $22 trillion, so by your logic, all US citizens live in perfect harmony and have zero social problems.

    Bugs aren't afraid of money or the size of a company. Humans develop software and they are prone to making mistakes.
    US of A is drowning in debt and mental health issues. Use a better country to compare.
  • Reply 14 of 42
    holyoneholyone Posts: 398member
    mazda 3s said:
    Sheesh, that didn't take long. Can't we all just drop the cynicism for just ONE day and appreciate that these two are working together for the common good? I mean, damn!
    This forum has become quite toxic I don't know when it was that to like Apple products means to mindlessly love Apple the megacorp and equally hating Google the megacorp , it's like Apple fans have become what Samsung fans were 6-8 yrs ago, :( . But that Apple/Google pic is unsettling though, could there be a more oddball coupling, why didn't they use the G logo ? This is unbalanced & seriously bad touching me all over :D
    avon b7muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 15 of 42
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,013member
    mazda 3s said:
    Sheesh, that didn't take long. Can't we all just drop the cynicism for just ONE day and appreciate that these two are working together for the common good? I mean, damn!
    I understand your position but realize many here don’t trust Apple or Google, or any tech company, when it comes to privacy. I personally think it’s way overblown especially in the case of the average individual. I think there’s way too much paranoia over the motives of Google and others. Bottom line it’s about advertising and marketing, not about creating personal dossiers on individuals for use in nefarious ways. That’s the realm of the dark web, hackers, identity thieves, and other douchebags. Google just wants to know what ads to send you and how much they can charge advertisers for doing it.
    edited April 2020 gatorguymuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 16 of 42
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,013member

    mazda 3s said:
    Sheesh, that didn't take long. Can't we all just drop the cynicism for just ONE day and appreciate that these two are working together for the common good? I mean, damn!
    i appreciate it. i totally get it. so let’s part the wheat from the chaff.

    1) they are going to team up
    2) iOS and Android devices will ping each other within 10m
    3) whomever anyone has been near, where and when will be captured and handed over to any participating gov

    the people get to turn it on if they choose?

    bahaha, nah

    4) the participating governments will use the current emergency powers to make it mandatory for our safety and we will all agree praising such a civic minded idea.

    who you met and then where they went and met and who was in the car with you and for how long.

    cause at the moment the police are stretched thin as arresting people out for a walk without a good reason - so this will free them up to deal with the crisis.

    wow.

    meh, you now get life in jail in australia for coughing and in any other way threatening health workers.

    this’ll fit right in 😂
    Jezzzus, talk about paranoid delusions. Take a pill or something. Wait, you probably think the pill will contain nanobots designed to send your thoughts to the NSA. So never mind about the pill....I guess.
  • Reply 17 of 42
    GG1GG1 Posts: 483member
    This is great!   Contact tracing is pretty much what every country has used where the spread of the virus has been successfully managed.  Social distancing is helpful but it is temporary and can only slow the spread rather than control it.

    B U T:
    The prerequisite is having sufficient community wide testing to make it worthwhile -- because you first have to identify the infected and infectious person before you can trace their prior contacts.

    Unfortunately Scott Gootlieb, former FDA head, reports that we will have to expand our testing by 2, 3 or even 4 times what it is now to do that effectively.   But, our existing resources are already maxed out and unable to supply more than the million tests it is currently completing.  And there appear to be no plans to expand those resources.

    And further:   The federal government has begun to defund and cancel community based testing and there are rumors that they have declared that there will be no widespread testing.   IF TRUE (and of this administration it is a credible rumor) then contact tracing will be of limited use and we will have to accustom ourselves to living (or dying) with this virus as it pops up and spreads throughout the country.

    Think about it:  How did the virus enter this country and become an epidemic?   A handful of people entered the country and each of them infected several others -- and nobody even knew it was here -- until it was becoming an epidemic.  That scenario will be playing out throughout the nation -- spreading from New York to Kyokuk unseen....

    Hopefully, for the sake of the American people, the federal government quickly establishes the resources necessary to produce and operate the additional testing that is required.  And, that they not only fund community testing sites but help to establish them.   Otherwise....


    Dr. Birx said that ELISA testing is not ready yet. When ready, everyone (not previously tested) will get tested.

    If I understand correctly (I'm not in the medical community), the current testing is for symptomatic people, and that may be drawing down due to the reduction of new (symptomatic) cases. The ELISA tests are for asymptomatic people, and that will ramp up when the test is ready. (significantly, i hope/expect). I absolutely want to take an ELISA test.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 42
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    gatorguy said:
    This is great!   Contact tracing is pretty much what every country has used where the spread of the virus has been successfully managed.  Social distancing is helpful but it is temporary and can only slow the spread rather than control it.

    Unfortunately Scott Gootlieb, former FDA head, reports that we will have to expand our testing by 2, 3 or even 4 times what it is now to do that effectively.   But, our existing resources are already maxed out and unable to supply more than the million tests it is currently completing. 

    The federal government has begun to defund and cancel community based testing and there are rumors that they have declared that there will be no widespread testing.   IF TRUE (and of this administration it is a credible rumor) then contact tracing will be of limited use and we will have to accustom ourselves to living (or dying) with this virus as it pops up and spreads throughout the country.
    Accept this for what it is: A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tells NPR, "Many of the Community-Based Testing Sites (CBTS) are not closing, but rather transitioning to state-managed sites on or about April 10." The agency and a spokesperson for FEMA say the CBTS program originally included 41 sites. It was intended as a stop-gap to bring testing to critical locations, especially for health care facility workers and first responders.
    I take that what that is is just more bull from our federal government who wants to avoid involvement and is passing the buck downstream.   It's another version of telling the states that they must beg, borrow, steal or make their own PPE. 

    dewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 42
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,422member
    gatorguy said:
    This is great!   Contact tracing is pretty much what every country has used where the spread of the virus has been successfully managed.  Social distancing is helpful but it is temporary and can only slow the spread rather than control it.

    Unfortunately Scott Gootlieb, former FDA head, reports that we will have to expand our testing by 2, 3 or even 4 times what it is now to do that effectively.   But, our existing resources are already maxed out and unable to supply more than the million tests it is currently completing. 

    The federal government has begun to defund and cancel community based testing and there are rumors that they have declared that there will be no widespread testing.   IF TRUE (and of this administration it is a credible rumor) then contact tracing will be of limited use and we will have to accustom ourselves to living (or dying) with this virus as it pops up and spreads throughout the country.
    Accept this for what it is: A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tells NPR, "Many of the Community-Based Testing Sites (CBTS) are not closing, but rather transitioning to state-managed sites on or about April 10." The agency and a spokesperson for FEMA say the CBTS program originally included 41 sites. It was intended as a stop-gap to bring testing to critical locations, especially for health care facility workers and first responders.
    I take that what that is is just more bull from our federal government who wants to avoid involvement and is passing the buck downstream.   It's another version of telling the states that they must beg, borrow, steal or make their own PPE. 

    You could look into it after April 11th to see if you're right or they are. There were only 41 sites so it should be relatively straightforward checking.  if you're up for it. 
    maltz
  • Reply 20 of 42
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    GG1 said:
    This is great!   Contact tracing is pretty much what every country has used where the spread of the virus has been successfully managed.  Social distancing is helpful but it is temporary and can only slow the spread rather than control it.

    B U T:
    The prerequisite is having sufficient community wide testing to make it worthwhile -- because you first have to identify the infected and infectious person before you can trace their prior contacts.

    Unfortunately Scott Gootlieb, former FDA head, reports that we will have to expand our testing by 2, 3 or even 4 times what it is now to do that effectively.   But, our existing resources are already maxed out and unable to supply more than the million tests it is currently completing.  And there appear to be no plans to expand those resources.

    And further:   The federal government has begun to defund and cancel community based testing and there are rumors that they have declared that there will be no widespread testing.   IF TRUE (and of this administration it is a credible rumor) then contact tracing will be of limited use and we will have to accustom ourselves to living (or dying) with this virus as it pops up and spreads throughout the country.

    Think about it:  How did the virus enter this country and become an epidemic?   A handful of people entered the country and each of them infected several others -- and nobody even knew it was here -- until it was becoming an epidemic.  That scenario will be playing out throughout the nation -- spreading from New York to Kyokuk unseen....

    Hopefully, for the sake of the American people, the federal government quickly establishes the resources necessary to produce and operate the additional testing that is required.  And, that they not only fund community testing sites but help to establish them.   Otherwise....


    Dr. Birx said that ELISA testing is not ready yet. When ready, everyone (not previously tested) will get tested.

    If I understand correctly (I'm not in the medical community), the current testing is for symptomatic people, and that may be drawing down due to the reduction of new (symptomatic) cases. The ELISA tests are for asymptomatic people, and that will ramp up when the test is ready. (significantly, i hope/expect). I absolutely want to take an ELISA test.

    Other countries don't make excuses they make tests...  We've been waiting for comprehensive U.S. testing since January and all we hear is:  It's coming...

    We didn't prepare and, after 3 monts we are still not prepared.   Existing testing resources have been stretched to the limit and cannot expand further without additional resources being developed.   But the federal government is pulling back funding for tests...  Go figure. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
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