Google and Apple have recently teamed up to develop the Contact Notification API. This API would allow developers to create contact tracking applications to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
This announcement was completely unexpected since both companies tend to consider themselves rivals in many of their areas of activity.
That said, the collaboration between the two companies must have been pretty good because, during an interview with WIRED, Google CEO Sundar Pichai was open to the idea of collaborating with Apple again on future projects.
When Pichai was asked whether or not this was a one-time collaboration, the CEO responded by saying:
Big companies that work together to serve society are really good for the world. I am committed to finding other opportunities, and I had the same feeling as Tim about this.
Pichai also shared how the process started:
Both teams, independently, had started working on technology to support health agencies in their contact tracking work. Very quickly both sides realized that for this to work well it has to be available everywhere. So the Android and iOS engineering teams began to reach out organically. At some point, Tim and I decided to exchange notes and speak directly.
It is great news that two great companies are joining together for something that is good for society and we are looking forward to seeing future collaborations like this in the future.