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Google, Apple develop Exposure Notifications Express for contact tracing apps

Unlike the Exposure Notifications System (ENS) API, the new Exposure Notifications Express is a wrapper app that will enable third-party health apps to use the API.

  • Published: September 2, 2020 5:02 PM IST
coronavirus digital virus render

The Exposure System Notification System developed by Google and Apple together currently is a part of most Android and iOS devices. The idea behind the API was to help create a power-efficient and secure COVID-19 contact tracing application. Exposure Notification System (ENS) went live a few months ago to let users know if they have been exposed to someone who has self-reported a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. Also Read - Google brings COVID exposure notification to Android 11

Now, many countries use the framework and the system has also been receiving a few privacy-oriented tweaks. However, the problem lies here. Most countries have to design an entire app around the API created by Google and Apple to make use of the ENS. To solve this, the two tech giants are now introducing a new framework called Exposure Notifications Express. Also Read - Apple, Google's 'Exposure Notification' API comes to India, but Aarogya Setu doesn't support it yet

Watch: BGR Talks: Nikhil Rungta, Verizon Media India Country Manager

Exposure Notifications Express (ENE) will allow these country-specific public health authorities to set up a COVID-19 contact tracing without building a whole new app around the API. Also Read - Apple and Google release first COVID-19 exposure tracing API for developers

How does the new Exposure Notifications Express work?

As explained by XDA, Health Agencies will submit a configuration to Apple and Google including basic information like how their contact tracing app triggers new notifications and the steps that follow. Android users will receive a notification nudging them to download a wrapper app made by Google from the Play Store. This will allow the existing app to make use of the new API, with the wrapper app acting as an adapter in between. The Express module will allow co-existence with existing apps that use the legacy ENS.

Can Exposure Notifications Express help curb COVID-19?

These Express notifications are primarily used in the US to boost participation of COVID-19 contact tracing apps. However, the new mechanism will allow other countries to also benefit from the API. A bunch of countries are already using the API, however, have struggled to convince their citizens to make use of the apps. The availability of Exposure Notifications Express should be able to change that.

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  • Published Date: September 2, 2020 5:02 PM IST



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