07 May 2020
Apple and Google have reportedly released the first versions of their COVID-19 contact tracing tools to public health organizations and agencies so that their developers could start developing apps.
While announcing the initiative a couple of weeks back, both Apple and Google said that their collaborative efforts will first lead to the development of the apps that will be restricted by public health authorities on App Store and Play Store and later on, the contact tracing will come as a built-in feature on systems. So, as outlined, the first phase of the Contact Tracing program has just started where developers will use software tools to develop the needed apps.
App developers under public health organizations’ scrutiny will setup several parameters that would determine when people have been exposed to COVID-19. According to Bloomberg’s report, this would be determined by setting up distance and exposure times. The two companies will also release a sample code to help the developers understand how the exposure-notification system will work after a person goes in contact with a COVID-19 affected patient.
As planned, the process has reached the first level and released software building blocks to developers in public health organizations on Tuesday. The set of tools majorly includes a combination of software updates for iOS and Android. Apple has released an early beta version of its software update – iOS 13.5, while Google has rolled out an update via its Play Store.
The toolset also includes software development kits to help developers build and test their apps. Apple has released the Xcode 11.5, a new version of its software development kit and Google is providing an update of its SDK to select developers.
As per the announcement they made a fortnight ago, APIs will be released to enable interoperability between Android and iOS. This step will ensure that the platform works regardless of the operating system customers are using.
The release of software tools comes under the first phase of this Contact Tracing program and the second phase which will have a deeper integration with Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating system will arrive in the coming months.