Google's COVID-19 contact tracing tech may soon be available on smartwatches
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 with the app."
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).
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
While it may not be Samsung's latest and greatest smartwatch anymore, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is still the best option for Android users. Not only does it have a great design, but also offers a ton of health tracking features and excellent battery life.
Get the Android Central Newsletter
Instant access to breaking news, the hottest reviews, great deals and helpful tips.