A recent update to Google‘s Passes API now lets Android users store digital versions of their COVID-19 vaccination cards or test information on their devices. The feature will be initially available in the US with more countries to join later.
The Passes API lets developers create digital versions of non-payment cards or passes like loyalty cards, membership cards, boarding passes, digital tickets, and more. Users can then save those digital passes in the Google Pay app on their Android smartphone. This makes it easy for people to board flights or have access to their subscriptions. They no longer need to carry around a physical card. At the same time, Google Pay’s security will keep their passes or cards safe.
Google now wants to extend this support to COVID-19 vaccination cards or test information as well. In many places around the world, it’s now mandatory to have proof of the COVID-19 vaccine – which everyone should get as early as possible – or at least a negative COVID-19 test result from within the past 72 hours or so. And since most public health authorities are now offering digital versions of those proofs, Google is opening a safe place for users to store them.
Healthcare organizations, government agencies, and other organizations authorized to distribute COVID-19 vaccines and/or tests can now use Google’s updated Passes API to create digital versions of the vaccination cards or test reports. Users will then be able to access those cards, which Google calls COVID Cards, from their Android devices.
The Google Pay app is not required to access COVID-19 vaccination cards
Since Google now includes the passes aspects of Google Pay in Play Services on Android, users will not require the payments app installed on their devices to store or access their COVID Cards. The device must be running Android 5 or later and be Play Protect certified though.
The COVID Cards are saved locally and will be accessible via a shortcut on the homescreen. According to Google, you can access them even if the device is offline. However, for your medical privacy, it will require you to verify your device’s password, pin, or biometric authentication.
For added security, Google will not store your COVID Card in the cloud as well. But this also means you’ll have to manually add the card to each device you want to store it in. Google also promises not to share the information with its other services or third parties. It will not use the information for targeting ads either.
Qualified healthcare organizations can sign up for the program here.