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Smartphone Shipments to Suffer Annual Decline by 14.6% in 2020: Gartner

Due to impacts of Covid-19, shipments of total mobile phones are forecast to decline 14.6 percent in 2020, while smartphone shipments will achieve a slightly slower decline of 13.7 percent year over year to total 1.3 billion units this year, according to a Gartner forecast on Tuesday. “While users have increased the use of their mobile phones to communicate with colleagues, work partners, friends and families during lockdowns, reduced disposable income will result in fewer consumers upgrading their phones,” Ranjit Atwal, Senior Research Director at Gartner, said in a statement.

“As a result, phone lifetimes will extend from 2.5 years in 2018 to 2.7 years in 2020,” said Atwal. In 2020, affordable 5G phones were expected to be the catalyst to increase phone replacements, but now it is unlikely to be the case. 5G phones are now forecast to represent only 11 percent of total mobile phone shipments in 2020. “The delayed delivery of some 5G flagship phones is an ongoing issue,” said Annette Zimmermann, Research Vice President at Gartner.

“Moreover, the lack of 5G geographical coverage along with the increasing cost of the 5G phone contract will impact the choice of a 5G phone.” Overall, spending on 5G phones will be impacted in most regions apart from China, where continued investment in 5G infrastructure is expected, allowing providers in China to effectively market 5G phones.

The combined global shipments PCs, tablets and mobile phones are on pace to decline 13.6 percent in 2020, according to the forecast. PC shipments are expected to decline by 10.5 percent this year. Shipments of notebooks, tablets and Chromebooks are forecast to decline slower than the PC market overall in 2020.

“The forecasted decline in the PC market, in particular, could have been much worse,” said Atwal. “However, government lockdowns due to COVID-19 forced businesses and schools to enable millions of people to work from home and increase spending on new notebooks, Chromebooks and tablets for those workers. Education and government establishments also increased spending on those devices to facilitate e-learning.”

Gartner said that 48 percent of employees will likely work remotely at least part of the time after the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to 30 percent pre-pandemic. Overall, the work from home trend will make IT departments shift to more notebooks, tablets and Chrome devices for work. “This trend combined with businesses required to create flexible business continuity plans will make business notebooks displace desk-based PCs through 2021 and 2022,” said Atwal.



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Tech

Microsoft is Not Giving up on Skype Even Though Teams Has Been Successful

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Image for Representation.

Microsoft recently revealed that Skype usage was up 70 per cent (month-over-month), while Skype to Skype calling minutes was up 220 per cent in the Covid-19 times.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: May 26, 2020, 10:17 AM IST

Despite its video conferencing app Teams breaking all records in the social distancing times, Microsoft said it would continue to invest in Skype that has crossed 40 million daily active users. Purchased in 2011 for $8.5 billion, Skype communication tool has failed to keep up with other messaging rivals to date, while Teams has seen a meteoric rise as millions of people work from home.

“We’re continuing to invest in Skype. It’s growing through all this. You’ll see some new features. You’ll see Skype and Teams interoperate,” Jeff Teper, CVP for Microsoft 365, told VentureBeat. Microsoft Teams registered a new daily record of 2.7 billion meeting minutes in a single day on March 31 – 200 per cent increase from 900 million on March 16.

The number of weekly Teams mobile users grew more than 300 per cent from early February to March. “As Teams lands with consumers and does more things, I think people will pick Teams. But we’re not going to be heavy-handed about this. People love Skype. And so, we’re not going to get ahead of ourselves here,” Teper was quoted as saying.

Microsoft recently revealed that Skype usage was up 70 per cent (month-over-month), while Skype to Skype calling minutes was up 220 per cent in the Covid-19 times. The tech giant said it plans to continue adding new features to Skype. “Facebook, for example, has multiple tools with Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. Those all continue to grow. They did work to interoperate with them. They’re not forcing a migration from one of their consumer tools to another,” said Teper.

“Teams has a very different flavour to it than Skype. It does overlap in the same need, just like Messenger and WhatsApp do from Facebook. And so, we’ll have them interoperate, but we’re going to continue to show love to the Skype customer base,” he was quoted as saying. At its ‘Build 2020′ virtual conference last week, Microsoft introduced several new capabilities in its video meet app Teams which has become a hub for teamwork combining meetings, calls, chat, and collaboration into a single tool.




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Subscribed to Too Many Streaming Services to Stay Sane These Days? Try The Bobby App, Right Now

It is quite easy to overcompensate these days. Subscribe to more services, apps and platforms than you may otherwise, purely for the work and play requirements. This isn’t just restricted to streaming platforms that include Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar and Amazon Prime Video. You may now need a subscription for virtual gym classes to stay healthy. Subscriptions to kids’ education apps. Video calling apps have premium plans too, such as Zoom and Google Meet. Maybe a faster home broadband plan that costs more than before. Maybe even subscriptions to productivity software such as Microsoft 365. More cloud storage perhaps for work. Pressreader app to keep up with the global newspapers and magazines? Need some music on Apple Music or Spotify? The possibilities are endless, and the drain on the pocket is quicker than a pristine stream in the Scottish Highlands.

It may be hard to keep tabs on the subscriptions and before you know it, everything just goes out of hands. That is where an app like Bobby, which is available for the Apple iPhone and the Apple iPad, really helps. For starters, what you get is a beautiful layout. And it’s even more beautiful in the Dark Mode—in fact you can choose the slightly lighter Dark More or the darker native Dark Mode of iOS. Some of the features in the app, such as the ability to choose a different icon for the iPhone’s apps list, are part of an optional in-app purchase which is priced at Rs 237. You may choose to not buy this, and Bobby still remains extremely useful because the core functionality works seamlessly.

There are some prelisted subscription platforms and apps on the list, making it easy to choose. These include Dropbox, Evernote, iCloud, Google Apps for Work, Audible, LinkedIn, Slack, Playstation Plus, Adobe Creative Cloud, iTunes Store, National Geographic, Microsoft Xbox Live, Microsoft Office, Twitch, Google Drive, WWE Network and more. The list isn’t alphabetically sorted, but you can simply search for what you need.

With Bobby, you can also create new subscriptions for services that may not be available in the listing—complete with colour coding, an icon for easy reference and description, among other details. For each subscription that you save, whether from the pre-defined list or customized, you must feed in the billing amount you pay for that subscription—it can be per month, quarterly or yearly. Whether you choose to enter this pre-taxes or including taxes, is up to you. Then you set the currency for your region, and also set reminders for when the payment may be due. This is a great way to keep tabs on everything you spend on, be it postpaid mobile connections, prepaid mobile recharges, subscriptions, utility bills and more.

Once all this is done, Bobby lists out all your subscriptions and gives you a total monthly bill that you pay for everything you have subscribed to, depending on the amounts you have entered.

Everything was moving online even before the Coronavirus pandemic arrived, and that has further increased the reliance on web-based services. We are spending a lot more time in front of one screen or the other—the PC, the tablet, the smartphone and the TV. And chances are, what we see or consume on that screen, is costing us some money either way. And Bobby is a great way to keep track of how much you spend, and perhaps take a stock of the priorities once you’ve listed everything you pay for.



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Tech

DailyObjects UV Sterilizer Review: Your Filthy Phone is Calling, What Are You Waiting For?

This isn’t just some box that you can use to keep knick-knacks that you may have an emotional attachment with, accessories that you love or pretty much anything else that you may run the risk of losing if kept in a drawer or almirah. Yes, it perhaps looks like one, but this DailyObjects UV Sterilizer is more than just any storage box. Daily Objects, a popular website for smartphone, laptop and smartwatch accessories, is now selling the new Portable Multi-Functional UV Sterilizer & Wireless Charger. This is priced at Rs 4,800 and there is no compatibility aspect that you need to worry about. Everything fits.

If you need some more convincing, sometime ago, the University of Arizona did confirm that your smartphone is potentially 7 times dirtier than your toilet seat. The thing is, in this world obsessed with technology and connectivity, we are touching more surfaces than the generations before us. And that means more germs on our hands. And since we are constantly connected on our phones and WhatsApp groups anyway without a care for anything else, we transfer these germs to the phone. The same phone which we then get close to our eyes, ears and nose. Getting the idea? Scary enough.

What does it do?

The DailyObjects UV Sterilizer is big enough to work with smartphones, watches—smart and non-smart, earphones and earbuds, facemasks, sunglasses and spectacles, keychains, rings, accessories and more. The company says this sterilizer kills 99.9% of the germs in 5 minutes. This offers the Ultraviolet-C sterilization (UV-C) which is designed to destroy the DNA of germs and viruses. This compact box design is 196mm long, 114 mm wide and 53mm deep. On the inside, you get 182mm x 100mm x 40mm space, which is spacious enough even for the largest of smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra to sit comfortably. This will most certainly be able to house most of your phones and accessories with ease within the protective shield layer.

That being said, I would suggest that if you are looking to sterilize a smartphone, keep only one in the box at a time. For other smaller accessories such as earphones, wireless earbuds, watches etc., you can most certainly place them side by side. But do not keep things one on top of the other, because that will block the UV’s path to the lower placed object.

White and just about right

The DailyObjects UV Sterilizer is dressed in white colour all through, and the branding as well as any other writings on the outer walls are done in a very subtle way. This is most certainly a very sophisticated box to look at, and should easily sit on your workstation, study table or even a bedside table. The lid has a USB C port, which is where you plug in the power for this UV Sterilizer and charger to work. On the top of the lid is the power button—press once for one minute of sterilization and press for one second to do five minutes of sterilization.

On the inner side of the lid sit 9 UV-C bulbs, which point down the light of sterilization on the product kept inside the DailyObjects UV Sterilizer compartment. On the base are elevated grooves which give the product that you place inside a higher ground, so that the underside of the gadget or accessory can also be sterilized since there will be a gap with the base.

The box itself seems to have pretty thick walls, to prevent any UV leakage. The UV Sterilization will also only work if the lid is properly closed and it sits flush with the rest of the box. In case you open the lid in the middle of a sterilization session, the UV lights will immediately shut off as soon as the lid is taken off the groove.

DailyObjects UV Sterilizer

Does UV work to effectively kill Coronavirus?

Without getting you bogged down or bewildered by complex science at work, simply put, a UV sterilizer uses a germicidal fluorescent lamp to envelop whatever it is that you want to disinfect. Studies have shown that this sterilization method is effective against foodborne pathogens, natural microbiota, molds, and yeasts, for instance. This works by breaking down certain chemical bonds and scrambling the structure of the DNA, RNA and proteins, which renders the microorganism unable to multiply. That is when it is effectively dead.

The concept of UV actually comes from nature. The sun does send UV-A, UV-B and UV-C out into the solar system, and it is the natural UV-C which has the most energy that could also be dangerous—and therefore the earth’s atmosphere absorbs us from it. But the man-made sources of UV-C, when used in a controlled environment, can be used for sterilization purposes. Such as in this case. UV-C is used to clean water as well.

Specifically, on the issue of the Coronavirus and whether UV-C can kill the COVID virus—the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine suggests that UV-C light has proven to destroy related Coronaviruses, including the one that caused MERS. But the caveat shouldn’t be missed—UV-C is good for sterilizing objects and surfaces but should not be used on human skin or anywhere near our eyes, for example. Simply put, the DailyObjects UV Sterilizer can seamlessly deliver on its promise.

All the power stats: Wireless charging adds value

For input power, you can use a 5V/2A or a 9V/2A adapter, though it is better to use the latter because a 5V charger will mean it’ll take longer for your phone or wireless earbuds to juice up via wireless charging and the sterilization effect may also take a bit longer than usual. The lid also enables wireless charging, with the rating up to 15-watts. That, I have to say, is pretty brisk for wireless chargers. It works pretty much the same way as most other wireless chargers, and you should ideally keep the DailyObjects UV Sterilizer in a cool place for the quickest charging to happen. There is absolutely no doubt that this feature is pretty convenient, in addition to the priceless ability to sterilize your phone and dock it on the lid for charging as well.

The Last Word: Can you really argue against a sterilizer?

Not just because of COVID and the worrying times we live in, but it is good to wage a war against viruses and germs on a regular basis. And a lot of them reside on the gadgets and accessories that we use. The DailyObjects UV Sterilizer straight goes into my list of must have accessories for home. Rs 4,800 is a small price to pay for the potential safety it brings to the table, and the peace of mind that comes with it. For your entire family. What are you waiting for?



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Tata Sky Broadband Now Offers up to 300Mbps Speeds, But Unlimited Data Plans Get New Prices

Tata Sky Broadband Now Offers up to 300Mbps Speeds, But Unlimited Data Plans Get New Prices

The existing plans now get a slightly higher price tag and there is a new 300Mbps speed plan available as well. And while Tata Sky Broadband calls these ‘Unlimited’, they do have a fair usage policy (FUP) in place.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: May 24, 2020, 10:36 AM IST

At a time when home broadband lines are being used more than ever by people working from home, and most internet service providers (ISPs) are supporting them with more data, higher speeds and the promise of faster service, Tata Sky Broadband is also making changes to its broadband tariff plans. In the sense, this is yet another change in the space of a month. The existing plans now get a slightly higher price tag and there is a new 300Mbps speed plan available as well. And while Tata Sky Broadband calls these ‘Unlimited’, they do have a fair usage policy (FUP) in place.

The new Tata Sky Broadband’s unlimited plans now have four options in place, instead of the three earlier. The first is priced a Rs 950 instead of Rs 900 and offers speeds up to 25Mbps. Then there is the Rs 1050 plan which cost Rs 1,000 earlier and offers 50Mbps. The erstwhile Rs 1100 plan now costs Rs 1150 and will get you 100Mbps speed. Now there is a flagship plan for Rs 1900 which offers 300Mbps speed. This brings it closer to the similar speed home broadband plans offered by the likes Airtel Broadband and Spectra, for instance. Earlier, Tata Sky Broadband’s options capped out at 100Mbps speeds.

Tata Sky Broadband also different FUP tiers, depending on which plan you subscribe to. For the 25Mbps, 50Mbps and 100Mbps plans, the monthly data cap for these unlimited plans is set at 1500GB after which the speed reduces to 2Mbps for the rest of the billing cycle. If you opt for the 300Mbps speed plan, your FUP limit is much higher at 3300GB data per month, before you run the risk of having the speed reduced to 2Mbps for the rest of the billing cycle.

Tata Sky Broadband also has Fixed GB plans which are available between Rs 790 per month to Rs 1050 per month, with 50Mbps and 100Mps speed options.




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Facebook Work From Home Employees to Face Salary Cuts Based on Their Cost of Living

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Image for Representation

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook employees who choose to relocate from Silicon Valley may see a change in their salaries.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: May 22, 2020, 11:31 AM IST

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has laid out a detailed remote-working plan to make half of his 50,000-strong workforce work from home by 2030, and employees who move to cheaper areas will face pay cuts as salaries are based on the cost of living in each location. In a virtual town hall meeting with his employees, Zuckerberg said that Facebook employees who choose to relocate from the Silicon Valley may see a change in their salaries. “That means if you live in a location where the cost of living is dramatically lower, or the cost of labor is lower, then salaries do tend to be somewhat lower in those places,” said Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg told staff on Thursday that they would need to move back to their homes by January 1, or tell the company where they are choosing to live instead so Facebook can adjust salaries, which he said was necessary for tax and accounting purposes, reports NBC News. “We’ll adjust salary to your location at that point. There’ll be severe ramifications for people who are not honest about this,” he added. According to him, about half of Facebook employees would work from home five to 10 years from now.

“We are going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale, with a thoughtful and responsible plan for how to do this. We’re going to do it in a measured way over time,” said Zuckerberg. As of 2018, the median employee compensation at Facebook was more than $240,000 a year.

According to Market Watch, the median home price in Menlo Park, California, where Facebook has its headquarters, is $2.4 million, while the median home price in the wider Bay Area was $928,000 last year. In an internal Facebook survey, about 45 percent employees were “pretty confident” that they would move to another place if they had that opportunity, with an additional 30 percent saying they “might” move.

Nearly 60 percent said they’d prefer to move to a smaller city or town. “When you limit hiring to people who either live in a small number of big cities or are willing to move there, that cuts out a lot of people who live in different communities, different backgrounds or may have different perspectives,” said Zuckerberg. The company has said workers will be able to work from home at least through the end of the year.




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Google Maps Will Now Show You Wheelchair Friendly Locations

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Image for Representation.

The ‘Accessible Places’ feature is rolling out for Google Maps users in Australia, Japan, the UK and the US, with support for additional countries on the way

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: May 22, 2020, 11:23 AM IST

Google has announced that people can now turn on an “Accessible Places” feature to have wheelchair accessibility information more prominently displayed in Google Maps. When ‘Accessible Places’ is switched on, a wheelchair icon would indicate an accessible entrance, and people would be able to see if a place has accessible seating, restrooms or parking. The ‘Accessible Places’ feature is rolling out for Google Maps users in Australia, Japan, the UK and the US, with support for additional countries on the way. “If it’s confirmed that a place does not have an accessible entrance, we’ll show that information on Maps as well,” Google said on the occasion of Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

There are at least 130 million wheelchair users worldwide. Today, Google Maps has wheelchair accessibility information for more than 15 million places around the world. “That number has more than doubled since 2017 thanks to the dedication of more than 120 million Local Guides and others who’ve responded to our call to share accessibility information,” said the company. In total, this community has contributed more than 500 million wheelchair accessibility updates to Google Maps.

Store owners have also helped, using Google My Business to add accessibility information for their business profiles to help users needing stair-free access find them on Google Maps and Search. “In this time of COVID-19, it’s especially important to know before you go so that you won’t be stranded outside that pharmacy, grocery or restaurant,” said Google.

To get wheelchair accessibility information more prominently displayed in Google Maps, update the app to the latest version, go to Settings, select “Accessibility,” and turn on “Accessible Places.” The feature is available on both Android and iOS. Google said it is rolling out an update that allows people using iOS devices to more easily contribute accessibility information, joining the millions of Android users who have been sharing this type of information on Maps.




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Facebook Aims to Protect You From Offensive Texts on Messenger Without Reading Your Conversations

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(Image: Reuters)

Image for Representation
(Image: Reuters)

Safety notices will pop up in Messenger text chats if activity taking place in the background is deemed suspicious by artificial intelligence software.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: May 22, 2020, 5:07 PM IST

Facebook on Thursday said that its Messenger app will be watching behind the scenes for scammers using the smartphone communication system. Safety notices will pop up in Messenger text chats if activity taking place in the background is deemed suspicious by artificial intelligence software, according to the director of privacy and safety product management Jay Sullivan.

He said the new safety feature “will help millions of people avoid potentially harmful interactions and possible scams without compromising their privacy.” The feature began rolling out to the Messenger app tailored for Android-powered smartphones in March and will head to Messenger on iPhones next week, according to Facebook.

“Too often people interact with someone online they think they know or trust when it’s really a scammer or imposter,” Sullivan said. “These accounts can be hard to identify at first and the results can be costly.”

Artificial intelligence software scans for scammers based on account behaviour, such as sending messages in bulk targeting demographics or geographies, according to Facebook. Warning notices pop up before people respond to messages of possibly dubious origins.

Since the feature does not involve looking at what is in messages, it should continue to add a layer of safety when Messenger takes to encrypted missives as planned by Facebook. “As we move to end-to-end encryption, we are investing in privacy-preserving tools like this to keep people safe without accessing message content,” Sullivan said.

Messenger already uses software tools to fight spam and thwart efforts by adults to contact minors they don’t appear to know. Messenger has been ramping up capabilities and security as the use of online tools to communicate and socialize surges due to restrictions of movement during the pandemic. Facebook recently unveiled a new video chat service with virtual “rooms” where people can pop in to visit friends, aiming at users turning to the popular Zoom platform during the pandemic.




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Google Photos Update Now Lets You Share Photos Directly With Other Users

Google Photos Update Now Lets You Share Photos Directly With Other Users

The latest Google Photos update allows users to have more control over who’s added to the album.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: May 21, 2020, 11:14 AM IST

Google has announced more controls for users who are sharing personal albums in Google Photos more than ever before in Covid-19 times. Last December, Google launched direct sharing to make it easy to share one-off photos and videos in Google Photos by adding them to an ongoing, private conversation in the app.

“We’re bringing a similar experience to shared albums. Rolling out this week, when sharing an album, the default option will be to share with a specific person or people via their Google account,” Google said in a statement. This gives users more control over who’s added to the album.

Users will still have the option to share albums in Google Photos via a link, which they can embed in an email, text, or blog to make it easy to share photos with people who don’t use Google Photos or have a Google account. “You have the option to turn link sharing on or off at any time and you can decide if you want to let other collaborators add photos to an album,” said Google.

You’ll also be able to remove someone from the album, which will remove the photos and videos they added. Since the start of COVID-19, sharing in Google Photos has increased by 50 percent in some regions, according to the company.




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Apple & Google COVID Exposure Notification API: This is How Contact Tracing Will Work

When Apple and Google announced last month that they would be working together to develop one of the most critical tech solutions of all time, that could only be classified as an unprecedented announcement. And perhaps timely too, considering the world is fighting the COVID outbreak. Now, that partnership has taken a crucial step forward, with Apple and Google releasing the COVID-19 Exposure Notification API for iPhones and Android phones, something they have been testing for a while now. The iOS 13.5 update now rolling out for the Apple iPhone line-up includes this new API, that for public health agencies (PHAs) and the contact tracing apps they make and deploy. Apple and Google say 22 countries in five continents have requested and received access to the API, and more are expected to join in the coming weeks.

The API will allow PHAs to define what constitutes an exposure event, the number of exposure events an individual has had, factor transmission risk of positive cases into their definition of an exposure event and data that users voluntarily choose to input into the app allows PHAs to contact exposed users.

“Our technology is designed to make these apps work better. Each user gets to decide whether or not to opt-in to Exposure Notifications; the system does not collect or use location from the device; and if a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, it is up to them whether or not to report that in the public health app. User adoption is key to success and we believe that these strong privacy protections are also the best way to encourage use of these apps,” Apple and Google said.

The contract tracing solution that uses the Bluetooth technology in iPhones and Android phones, and will allow government and health agencies around the world to track and notify you in case you have met with or have come in close proximity with someone who is now confirmed to have been affected by the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. Apple and Google have also detailed the privacy aspects and how the data will be collected, time and again. This will work seamlessly across Android phones and the iPhones.

 This is How BLE Tracing works

The contact tracing is essentially a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) service registered with the Bluetooth SIG with 16-bit Universally Unique Identifier, UUID 0xFD6F, that is designed to enable proximity sensing of Rolling Proximity Identifier between devices for the purpose of computing an exposure event. The two phones, which could be your phone and someone else’s phone in your proximity, will exchange anonymous identifier keys. All the discovered data shall be kept on the device, which is your smartphone. These logs will be uploaded with the user’s consent in case they are confirmed to have been infected by Coronavirus, or COVID. These logs will then be downloaded by your smartphone and matched against the logs your phone has collected via Bluetooth tracing over time. If your logs match any smartphone user who has now been confirmed with COVID, you will see a notification on your phone alerting you about it with steps on what to do next.

If you have met someone who has now been confirmed with Coronavirus, or COVID, your phone will be able to notify you and the health authorities. (Image: Apple and Google)

If you have met someone who has now been confirmed with Coronavirus, or COVID, your phone will be able to notify you and the health authorities. (Image: Apple and Google)

You do not require any location data for this to work

Apple and Google say that at no point does the Bluetooth based contract tracing require any location data access. It can work very well without it too. “The Contact Tracing Bluetooth Specification does not require the user’s location; any use of location is completely optional to the schema. In any case, the user must provide their explicit consent in order for their location to be optionally used,” they have said.

All the data stays private

Privacy remains a very important part of this new COVID contact tracing API.

Apple and Google also take pains to emphasise on the point that the list of contacts never leaves your phone, list of people who you may have come in range with never leaves your phone and at no point is the data shared with Apple or Google, in case of a positive test. Only public health authorities will have access to that data—though Apple and Google will have no say in who these authorities then share the data with.

The device location details are not collected at any point. Random Bluetooth identifiers are used to indicate proximity and no identifiable information is shared or logged. Users decide whether they want to report a positive diagnosis and the user identities are not known to other users, Google or Apple. Matching for exposure notifications is only done on device, which means that data isn’t saved or processed on the cloud.

The roadmap for Apple and Google’s Contact Tracing Rollout

Remember, this is not an app in itself. This is an API that public health agencies around the world can integrate into their own apps. For instance, India’s Aarogya Setu, Austria’s Stopp Corona app, Czech’s eRouska, Iceland’s Rakning C-19, Israel’s HaMagen, Singapore’s Trace Together and Norway’s Smittestopp, Australia’s COVIDSafe, CovTracer from Cyprus, Italy’s Immuni and Poland’s ProteGO are all contact tracing app examples that can use the new API—whether they do it or not remains to be seen.

The second stage would be where Apple and Google will work on a Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform which will also be used by apps made by health authorities to track user proximity data—and this will be built into iOS and Android and the option will be available to all users without having to download another app.

This is why Contract Tracing is critical

Contact tracing is critical in curbing the Coronavirus spread around the country and indeed around the world. A person who may be infected with the COVID-19 virus may not show any signs or symptoms for as many as 14 days more but can spread the infection in the meantime through cough, for instance. As and when a confirmed COVID case is taken in for treatment, health authorities scramble to track as many people this infected person may have met in the past few days. “Contact Tracing makes it possible to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus by alerting participants of possible exposure to someone who they have recently been in contact with, and who has subsequently been positively diagnosed as having the virus,” Apple had said.

Earlier, Apple had released a beta version of Xcode 11.5 and the third beta of iOS 13.5—the Xcode includes tools that developers would need for building iOS apps that incorporate the COVID API, and iOS 13.5 integrates the code needed by apps that will be developed by health authorities around the world. Google has also released similar updates for developers via updates to Google Play Services and the Android Developer Studio.

 



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