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France rebrands contact-tracing app in an effort to boost downloads – TechCrunch

Don’t name it StopCovid anymore. France’s contact-tracing app has been up to date and is now referred to as TousAntiCovid, which implies ‘everybody towards Covid’. The French authorities is making an attempt to pivot in order that it’s not a contact-tracing app — or no less than not only a contact-tracing app.

Proper now, TousAntiCovid seems to be a rebranding greater than a pivot. There’s a brand new identify and a few modifications within the person interface. However the core characteristic of the app stays unchanged.

StopCovid hasn’t been successful. First, it’s nonetheless unclear whether or not contact-tracing apps are a great tool to alert individuals who have been interacting with somebody who has been identified COVID-19-positive. Second, even whenever you take that into consideration, the app by no means actually took off.

Again in June, the French authorities gave us an replace on StopCovid three weeks after its launch. 1.9 million individuals had downloaded the app, however StopCovid solely despatched 14 notifications.

4 months later, StopCovid/TousAntiCovid has been downloaded and activated by near 2.eight million individuals. However solely 13,651 individuals declared themselves as COVID-19-positive within the app, which led to 823 notifications. Even for those who’re examined optimistic, usually, nobody goes to be notified.

Therefore at the moment’s replace. In the event you’ve been utilizing the app, you’ll obtain TousAntiCovid with a software program replace — the French authorities is utilizing the identical App Store and Play Store itemizing. Whenever you first launch the app, you undergo an onboarding course of targeted on contact-tracing — activate notifications, activate Bluetooth, and so forth.

France is utilizing its personal contact-tracing protocol referred to as ROBERT. A bunch of researchers and personal corporations have labored on a centralized structure. The server assigns you a everlasting ID (a pseudonym) and sends to your telephone an inventory of ephemeral IDs derived from that everlasting ID.

Like most contact-tracing apps, TousAntiCovid depends on Bluetooth Low Vitality to construct a complete listing of different app customers you’ve interacted with for various minutes. In the event you’re utilizing the app, it collects the ephemeral IDs of different app customers round you.

In the event you’re utilizing the app and also you’re identified COVID-19-positive, your testing facility will hand you a QR code or a string of letters and numbers. You possibly can select to open the app and enter that code to share the listing of ephemeral IDs of individuals you’ve interacted with over the previous two weeks.

The server again finish then flags all these ephemeral IDs as belonging to individuals who have doubtlessly been uncovered to the coronavirus. On the server once more, every person is related to a threat rating. If it goes above a sure threshold, the person receives a notification. The app then recommends you get examined and comply with official directions.

However there are some new issues within the app. Now you can entry some current numbers concerning the pandemic in France — new instances over the previous 24 hours, variety of individuals in intensive care unit, and so forth. There’s a brand new feed of reports gadgets. Proper now, it sums up what you are able to do and can’t do in France

And there are some new hyperlinks for helpful sources — the service that tells you the place you will get examined and a hyperlink to the exemption certificates in the course of the curfew. Whenever you faucet on these hyperlinks, it merely launches your net browser to official web sites.

Let’s see how the app evolves as the federal government now desires to actively iterate on TousAntiCovid to make it extra engaging. If TousAntiCovid can turn out to be a central info hub in your telephone, it may appeal to extra downloads.

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Romain Dillet