Apple, Google release first version of the Covid-19 contact tracing API

The report also says that the seed API also includes the ability for the healthcare agencies to calculate the exposure risk level for individuals based on their own criteria.

The release aims to gather feedback from the developers on how to improve the API ahead of its mid-May launch.
The release aims to gather feedback from the developers on how to improve the API ahead of its mid-May launch. (Apple)

Earlier this month, Apple and Google joined forces in a bid to help governments and healthcare agencies track the spread of Covid-19. Now, nearly three weeks later, the two companies have shared the first version of their contact tracing API with the developers.

The seed API, according to a report by TechCrunch, is being released to a selected bunch of developers who will be working with the public health authorities to develop new contact tracing and notification apps. The release aims to gather feedback from the developers on how to improve the API ahead of its mid-May launch.

The report also says that the seed API also includes the ability for the healthcare agencies to calculate the exposure risk level for individuals based on their own criteria. This will be based on the approximate distance of an individual to a confirmed Covid-19 patient and the duration of the exposure. Developers will then be able to customise notification messages based on their exposure levels.

While Google has released a beta version of Google Play with the seed SDK being shipped privately to select developers, Apple has done the same via Xcode beta version 11.5 and a beta version of iOS 13.5.

Apple and Google have also said that they will also be providing additional information to the developers which will include a sample code demonstrating how the companies' contact tracing system would work.

Separately, both Apple and Google recently released an FAQ page which explains that the two companies will not maintain the API indefinitely and they will shut it down on a region-to-region basis when the pandemic has been contained. The two companies have also said that users will be able to shut the system down on their Android smartphones anytime by uninstalling the contact tracing app or turning off exposure notification in Settings.