Google’s Covid-19 exposure notification system is now accessible on select handsets in India. The feature seems to have gone live for Indian users with the newest monthly Android update. Note that it is not a different application. The notification system, basically an Application Programming Interface (API), is meant to work with other contact tracing applications.
India’s official Covid-19 contact tracing application “Aarogya Setu” does not use this API, for now. In April this year, Google and Apple formed a rare collaboration to develop the exposure notification system. The purpose of the API is to help the health professionals trace contacts of users infected or at risk of getting infected by the Covid-19. The technology uses Bluetooth Low Energy to identify phones in the proximity and exchange data.
Google and Apple have emphasized that the API does not violate users’ privacy as the data shared are anonymous. This essentially means personally identifiable information is not exposed. Google and Apple have also banned the public health authority app from using your phone's location. To block tracking, your phone's random ID replaces every 10-20 minutes.
“All of the Exposure Notification matchings happens on your device, which means only you and your app know if you report having COVID-19 or been exposed to someone who has reported having COVID-19. Your identity is never shared with other users, Apple, or Google,” according to Google’s support page.