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Apple and Google show how COVID-19 case alerts work in tracking apps

As the Apple and Google solution begins to take shape, more developments emerge about the project that wants to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. It is now known that the two companies have released images with examples of interface designs that can be used by the tracking apps, and it is known how the alert notifications from users infected with COVID-19 will be activated.

In early April, the technological giants announced that they had joined forces to develop a technology that would help applications track the new coronavirus. Through Bluetooth technology, the system, which will not be imposed on citizens, will provide alert notices to users who are close to an infected person for at least five minutes.

After launching the first version of the tools for developers last week, Apple and Google announced more news. According to The Verge, companies have released images with examples of inferface capable of giving a notion of how the notifications will work in practical terms and how the issue of consent will be dealt with. Intended for use by developers, the examples show how alerts arise and when certain APIs should be activated.

In addition, companies are still sharing a reference code library, the Android SDK and the XCode for iOS. The teams hope that this system will serve as "a starting point" for the development of apps managed by health authorities. Still, they clarify that the code should not be sent as an application.

Some principles were also disclosed by which the partners should be guided. It is clear that the apps can only be used as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and are not authorized to access the location services. On the other hand, users' consent will be required before accessing the API or sharing a positive result.

Advertising is another issue addressed, advertisements are not permitted in these applications. The companies also plan to restrict access to a single app by country, in an effort to avoid fragmentation. But in countries like the United States, composed of several states, companies will be prepared for a statewide reality. According to the website, technological experts assure that they have already been approached by several governments, not even specifying specific countries.

As was initially announced, companies plan to launch the first phase of tracking app solutions by mid-May, through an API for Android and iOS. The second phase involves an update of the operating system, which allows tracking without downloading an independent application.

In Portugal, as in other European countries, a tracking application is being developed, which will use Bluetooth technology, and which will also take advantage of this solution. The application is due to be launched by the end of May and is intended to help health authorities track infected people. "