Utah is one of the first states to endorse a contact tracing app to slow the spread of coronavirus and 45,000 people have signed up since it was released in late April. However, the app was built by a social media startup and doesn’t use the Apple-Google Bluetooth contact tracing system, reports CNBC.
Healthy Together was built by Twenty, a social media start-up that previously built an app that helps young people meet up in person. After the COVID-19 pandemic started, the state of Utah reached out to the company, according to CNET. Healthy Together repurposed their social media-oriented technology for contact tracing in three weeks. Utah’s app does work with iPhones and Android smartphones.
On April 10, Apple and Google announced a joint effort to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of COVID-19. The plan is to implement this solution in two steps while maintaining strong protections around user privacy.
This month, both companies will release application programming interfaces [APIs] that enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities. These official apps will be available for users to download via their respective app stores. Second, in the coming months, Apple and Google will work to enable a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform by building this functionality into the underlying platforms.