COVID-19 contact tracking updates coming to Android devices via Google Play

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Credit: https://www.pocket-lint.com/apps/news/google/127558-how-to-install-google-play-store

Google and Apple already informed us about a collaboration that will enable contact tracking of people with COVID-19 through Bluetooth technology. Google has now followed that up by saying that updates will be pushed out via Google Play and this will be available to Android 6.0 Marshmallow phones and above.

What that means is that users with version 6.0 Marshmallow and above will get the update pushed to their phones via the Google Play Services infrastructure, The Verge reports. Using Google Play Services, the update will be readily available to as many people as possible.

A couple of days ago, Apple and Google announced a collaboration that would see both companies launch a COVID-19 contact tracing through Bluetooth technology. The technology being worked on will be integrated into Android and iOS, both companies announced in separate blog post. The move is to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Apple and Google are jointly launching a “comprehensive solution” that can be used for contact tracing that covers “application programming interfaces (APIs) and operating system-level technology to assist in enabling contact tracing.”

This new method being worked on by the two Silicon Valley tech behemoths will provide better alternative to the current technique that involves using location data from carriers and other telecom companies being implemented by some countries.

With the soon-to-be launched tools, governments will be able to build COVID-19 contact tracing apps that will work across Apple and Google devices. When two people are within close-range, their phones will exchange anonymous identifiers. If anyone diagnosed with the coronavirus, his device can transmit a list of everyone he has been in contact with to the cloud.

Interestingly, the second person’s device will periodically download a list of everybody that has tested positive in his area. Once a match takes place, they will be notified and prompted to contact health officials.

Official apps to work with the APIs which will be available from next month [May] can be downloaded from Google Play Store and the App Store. In the coming months, Apple and Google will also be working to enable a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform by building this functionality into the underlying platforms. This, the two companies believe is a more robust solution than an API. It would also allow more people to participate should they decide to opt in, as well as enable interaction with a broader ecosystem of apps and government health authorities.


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Author: Ola Ric

Ola Ric is a professional tech writer. He has written and provided tons of published articles for professionals and private individuals. He is also a social commentator and analyst, with relevant experience in the use of social media services.

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