Apple and Google have entered into a rare partnership to help health authorities around the world stop the spread of COVID-19 amid the global pandemic.
Normally Apple’s iOS operating system and Google’s Android are two very separate cases, working against each other to beat each other with new features designed to entice buyers of the latest smartphones.
READ MORE:Australia enters ‘next phase’ of fighting coronavirus
Contact tracing is the very arduous and manual process undertaken by health authorities to determine who a person that has tested positive might have come into contact with.
That person would need to remember all the places they’ve been and the people they were in contact with.
Google and Apple plan to help by, in large part, automating that process.
Using Bluetooth on your smartphone, the planned app and operating system updates will constantly be “searching” for other smartphones.
Every smartphone your phone comes into contact with will be recorded on your phone.
It’s all anonymous too – the “beacon” that is a unique number your smartphone transmits, changes every 15 minutes and carries no personalised data.
Not even your location is stored.
If at some point you test positive for COVID-19, health authorities can use your app to flag you as positive – only authorities can do this.
That will allow any other smartphone user you’ve come in contact with to be advised that they have been in contact with a positive case.
The other users wouldn’t know who it is that was positive, only that they had been in close proximity, this would allow for even more targeted testing for COVID-19 in the community.
Google and Apple plan to have the system working in mid-May, with a more comprehensive roll out within months.
They also state that the system can be disabled region by region as and when the pandemic comes to an end and contact tracing is no longer required.
For breaking news alerts and livestreams straight to your smartphone sign up to the9News appand set notifications to on at theApp StoreorGoogle Play.
You can also get up-to-date information from the Federal Government’s Coronavirus Australia app, available on theApp Store,Google Playand theGovernment’s WhatsApp channel.
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