Google allows storing digital versions ofon users’ Android devices. The company on Wednesday announced it’s updating its Passes API, which will give developers at healthcare organizations, government agencies, and other organizations authorized by public health authorities the ability to create digital versions of tests and directly to the user’s device. The Passes API is typically used to store boarding passes, loyalty cards, gift cards, tickets, and more on users’ wallets. However, the app, in this case, will not be required, Google says.
Instead, users without theapp can store the digital version of the Covid Card directly on their device, where it’s accessible from a home screen shortcut. Because Google is not retaining a copy of the Card, anyone needing to store the Covid Card on multiple devices will need to download it individually from the healthcare provider or another organization’s app.
The cards themselves show the healthcare provider or organization’s logo and branding at the top, followed by the person’s name, date of birth, and other relevant information, like theor date of shot or test. According to a support document, healthcare providers or organizations could alert users to the ability to download their Card via email, text, or a .
In an example photo,Card from Healthvana, which serves L.A. County. However, it didn’t provide any other information about which healthcare providers are interested in or planning to adopt the new technology. Reached for comment, Google says some other big partners and states are in the pipeline, but it doesn’t have permission to share those names now. Over the , some of these names will be released, we understand.
The Passes API update doesn’t mean Android users can immediately create digital versions of theirhave been taking pictures of as a means of backup or, unfortunately, in some cases, laminating it. (That’s not advised, however, as the Card is meant to be used again for recording booster shots.)
Instead, the update allows developers to begin building tools to export the data they have in their systems about people’s Covid tests and vaccinations to a local digital card on Android devices. To what extent these digital cards will become broadly available to end-users will depend on developer adoption.
For the feature to work, the Android device needs to run Android 5 or later, and it willcertified, a licensing program that ensures the machine is running real Google apps. Users must also set a lock screen on their devices for . will initially roll out in the U.S., followed by other countries.
The U.S. is behind otherversion of vaccination cards possible. Today, the E.U.’s Covid certificate, which shows an individual’s vaccination status, test results, or , went live. All E.U. members will recognize the certification (EUDCC) and will aid with cross-border travel. Israel released a vaccine passport earlier this that allows vaccinated people to show their “green pass” at places that require vaccinations. Japan aims to have vaccination passports ready for international travel by the end of July.
In the U.S., only a few states have active vaccine certification apps. Many others have outright banned vaccine passports — which has become a politically loaded term — or are considering doing so. Given this context, Google’sof a paper card. It’s not tied to any other government initiatives or a “vaccine passport.”