Google is preparing Wear OS to support contact tracing

The feature might take a while to implement

Due to the global pandemic, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) decided to enable contract tracing on Bluetooth Low Energy devices like wearables, and now, Google seems to be preparing its operating system for the feature.

XDA Developers spotted coding within the Play Services beta version 20.50.14 that reveals Google’s intention to add COVID-19 exposure notifications to its platform. The string reads, “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.”

This would mean that the Bluetooth in your wearable will be able to utilize the contact tracing system, meaning you can leave your handset at home when you go out. The feature could also use both your smartphone and wearable to make tracing even more accurate, according to the leak.

The Bluetooth SIG only published a draft of the Wearable Exposure Notification Service specification last month. So, it’s worth noting that this feature may take a while as the Bluetooth SIG standard still needs to be finalized. Once that happens, though, it looks like Google will be ready for a quick launch.

Source: XDA Developers