Google & Apple's COVID Contact Tracing Roll-Out
For Apple and Google, Big Health Tech Futures
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Perspective from Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple and Google are launching their
joint coronavirus contact tracing software. They just
provided the first version to Android and iOS
developers to test it before a broader consumer launch.
The public launch will happen
when Apple and Google approve the
final public health version. This is a huge move in
tracking the spread of the virus. Apple alone controls
a whopping 50% of the global smartphone
market. The contact tracing over their
phones will provide a key means of spotting
and preventing the spread of the coronavirus,
while protecting individual privacy.
Consumers Opt In or Out
It's up to each individual to decide to opt in or
opt out of the contact tracing technology. Both
Google and Apple say the system will not
disclose the individual's identity. For those
who opt in, there will be easy Bluetooth
based contact tracing across iOS and Android
smart phones. Public health officials are
expected to develop apps for tracking
infections and detect whom the infected
person came in contact with recently.
Interestingly, Apple CEO Tim Cook
believes Apple's most lasting achievement
will be in healthcare. As he put it: "If
you zoom out into the future, look back and
ask What was Apple's greatest contribution to
mankind? It will be about health".
With contact tracing software being rolled
out globally and Apple's smart watches
monitoring your personal health metrics,
you can see the rationale behind
CEO Cook's thinking.
Google's Project Nightingale
Meanwhile, Google has an additional,
huge health related project underway.
It's called Project Nightingale and involves
parsing the health data on tens of millions
of Americans for health care data. Google
Cloud is partnering with Ascension Health
Care on this data storage and processing
project. Ascension has 2600 hospitals in
21 states with tens of millions of patient
records being processed.