Apple and Google have released the first version of their COVID-19 contact tracing API to select developers on Wednesday. The two leading tech giants had come together earlier this month to help healthcare agencies and states to track the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The COVID-19 contact tracing API is scheduled to launch in the mid of May 2020. The selected developers will then work with healthcare agencies and public bodies to further develop contact tracing and exposure notification apps. Thus, the preliminary Wednesday release aimed at gathering feedback from the developers.  

Key features of the Contact Tracing API

Notably, the seed API reportedly also offers customization abilities for respective healthcare bodies. The API would calculate exposure risk levels of an individual based on their estimated distance from a confirmed COVID-19 patient as well as the duration of the exposure.

However, it would allow individual healthcare bodies to calculate exposure risk levels based on their respective criteria. Additionally, the developers’ team can then customize notification alerts based on their calculated exposure levels.

Apple has shared the seed API privately with select developers via. an iOS beta version13.5 and Xcode beta version 11.5. On the other hand, Google did it with a beta version of Google Play.

Moreover, the two companies have also shared that they will provide developers with additional information to facilitate the development of contact tracing apps. It will also include sample codes that will demonstrate the overall working of the contact tracing system.

Furthermore, Google and Apple have also released an FAQ page for their collaborative API project. The API FAQ page noted that the project would be terminated region-wise whenever the COVID-19 spread has been contained in the particular region.

Furthermore, companies have also clarified that Android users would be able to shut down the system anytime they want by turning off exposure notifications or uninstalling the contact tracing app.

Do share your thoughts on Apple and Google’s collaborative COVID-19 contact tracing project in the comments below.