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Google’s COVID-19 contact tracing tech may soon be available on wearables

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Fossil Gen 5Source: Joe Maring / Android Central

What you need to know

  • A teardown of the latest Play Services update suggests Google could soon add Wearable Exposure Notification support to the app.
  • The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) had started working on a new BLE specification to make contact tracing possible on wearables in August last year.
  • Once the Wearable Exposure Notification support is added to the app, you can be notified if you've been near someone who reported having COVID-19.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) announced in August last year that it was working on a new BLE specification to enable COVID-19 contact tracing on wearables. A draft of the new Wearable Exposure Notification Service (WENS) was published last month, but it is yet to be finalized. An APK teardown of the latest Google Play Services update by the folks at XDA Developers has now revealed that Google is already working on adding Wearable Exposure Notification support to the app.

The new strings found in Google Play Services v20.50.14 shed some light on exactly how the upcoming Wearable Exposure Notification will work. Once you pair a compatible wearable to your phone, you will see a dialog that states: "Your phone will use this device to securely collect and share random IDs with other devices that are nearby. You can be notified if you've been near someone who reported having COVID-19. The date, duration, and signal strength associated with an exposure will be shared w ith the app."

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Since Google has started working on adding Wearable Exposure Notification support to Play Services, it is possible that the tech giant will share more information about it once the new specification is finalized by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG).



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