Welcome back to this Week in Apps, the Extra Crunch series that summarizes the latest operating system news, the applications they support, and the money flowing through it all.
According to App Annie's annual report "State of Mobile", the app industry is hotter than ever with a record 204 billion downloads in 2019 and a consumption volume of $ 120 billion in 2019. People are now spending 3 hours and 40 minutes a day on apps that compete with television. Apps aren't just a way to spend idle time – they're big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had an overall valuation of $ 544 billion, 6.5 times higher than companies with no mobile focus.
In this extra crunch series, we help you keep up with the latest news from the world of apps that are delivered weekly.
This week, we continue to investigate how the outbreak of the corona virus affects the world of mobile applications, including Apple and Google's plans to partner on a contact tracking platform and other COVID-19 apps worldwide. We are also investigating how WhatsApp works against fake messages and how home quarantines affect online food and dating applications. In non-COVID-19 messages, we look at Quibis Debut, Facebook's new app for couples and a possible iOS version of Android’s "Slices", among others.
Apple and Google work together on COVID-19 tracing tools
Apple and Google announced on Friday a plan to jointly develop a decentralized tracing tool to help determine if they were exposed to anyone with COVID-19. The first phase of the project is an API that public health authorities can integrate into their own apps. This is followed by a system-level contact tracking system that works and is enabled for iOS and Android. The system includes the transmission of an anonymous ID via Bluetooth. The servers forward your last 14 days of rotating IDs to other devices that look for a match based on the time spent and the distance between two devices. If a match is found, you will be notified so that you can test and quarantine.
The APIs will be available in May, while the Bluetooth-based system will be released in the coming months.
Other COVID-19 apps in the news
- EU proposes standardization: This week, the EU urged its 27 nations to develop common standards for coronavirus tracking technologies that make apps interoperable, or maybe even develop a single app for the entire block, Bloomberg reported. Nowadays, several developers in the UK, Germany and other countries are working on cell phone apps to track people who have been exposed to the corona virus. However, the data are more difficult to aggregate and understand in their broken state.
- France is developing a contact tracking app: France is officially working on a smartphone app to slow the spread of COVID-19 by tracking people living in France. The app uses the PEPP-PT protocol, which uses an open standard that uses BLE to identify other phones on which the app is running.
- How Chinese apps handled COVID-19: A contribution by Dan Grover analyzes how Chinese apps from major technology companies like Baidu, WeChat, Alipay and others have helped overcome the coronavirus crisis by providing statistics, e-medicine, quarantine tools, e-commerce and tools were offered to review your problems exposure. In comparison, the US has largely added CDC and WHO PSAs to its platforms rather than offering more robust solutions. The advantages and disadvantages of both are discussed from an app-centric point of view, which makes interesting reading possible from a technical point of view.
- COVID-19 Symptom Checker from Start Zoe arrives in the US: A free iOS and Android application called COVID Symptom Tracker was originally developed in collaboration with food science startup Zoe and first published in the UK. After a million downloads, the app is now launched in the United States.
- The Stanford Medicine app helps first aiders test: In collaboration with Apple, Stanford has launched an app that gives first-aiders access to drive-through corona virus tests. This includes front workers such as police officers, firefighters and paramedics. The service is currently limited to the counties of Santa Clara and San Mateo in California, but will later be expanded to other states.