Google and Apple on Friday unveiled a joint initiative to use smartphones to find contacts of coronaviruses to fight the pandemic.

The move brings together the largest mobile operating systems to use smartphone technology to track and potentially contain the global COVID-19 epidemic.

Smartphones powered by Apple software and the Android operating system supported by Google could exchange information with a common “membership system”.

The tech giants will collaborate on a “contact tracing” system that can identify people in contact with an infected person. and alert users.

“All of us at Apple and Google believe there has never been a more important time to work together to solve one of the most pressing issues in the world,” the companies said in a joint statement.

The first step will be the release next month of the software interface and technology at the operating system level to allow iPhones and Android phones to share information via applications provided by public health authorities, according to corporations.

The move comes with governments around the world studying or implementing measures to use smartphone location technology to identify people who have the virus and prevent them from infecting others, even if the efforts raise privacy concerns. and civil liberties.

Apple and Google have said they will work together over the next few months to use the standard Bluetooth capabilities that wireless devices such as headphones rely on to allow handsets to exchange information.

Apple and Google have said that “confidentiality, transparency and consent” are the top priorities of the joint initiative.

“All of us at Apple and Google believe there has never been a more important time to work together to solve one of the most pressing issues in the world,” longtime rivals said in the statement. .

“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.” everyday.”

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