Google and Apple have recently teamed up to develop the Contact Notification API. This API would allow developers to create contact tracking applications to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The project began in March by engineers from both companies. Also Read - Google Messages end-to-end encryption for RCS messages coming soon
This announcement was completely unlikely since both companies tend to consider themselves rivals in many of their areas of activity. That said, the collaboration between the two companies must have been pretty good because, during an interview with WIRED, Google CEO Sundar Pichai was open to the idea of collaborating with Apple again on future projects. Also Read - Google launches Action Blocks app to help people with cognitive problems
Google and Apple collaboration
When Pichai was asked whether or not this was a one-time collaboration. The CEO responded by saying, “Big companies that work together to serve society are really good for the world. I am open to working with Apple on finding other opportunities, and I had the same feeling as Tim about this”. Also Read - Google Pixel 4a launch delayed to July 13, but the device is ready
Pichai also shared how the process started, “Both teams, independently, had started working on technology to support health agencies in their contact tracking work. Both sides quickly realized that for this to work well, it has to be available everywhere. So the Android and iOS engineering teams began to reach out organically. At some point, Tim and I decided to exchange notes and speak directly”.
Additionally, one of the reasons that both companies have joined is because there is currently little interoperability between the operating systems from both manufacturers. If different applications came to use, it could limit its effectiveness significantly.
Both Apple and Google say privacy and transparency are paramount in a public health effort like this. They are open to developing a system that does not compromise personal privacy in any way. It is great news that two great companies are joining together for something good for society.