Google makes a lot of experimental apps, but the company's latest one couldn't have landed at a more opportune time. The Google Health Studies app allows users to sign up and participate in research studies to advance medical knowledge — and its first project tackles respiratory illnesses.
Users who apply and qualify for studies will be asked to contribute by completing tasks like simple questionnaires and weekly surveys asking specific health questions. Personal data never leaves your device, though, thanks to federated learning and analytics. Instead, researchers just see aggregated statistics and trends based on encrypted data generated by combining anonymous data from many devices.
Google partnered with Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital for the first study, which is designed to help scientists and public health officials gain a better understanding of respiratory illnesses like influenza and COVID-19. The study is expected to last six months and will take up about one minute of time per week for participants who agree to answer the weekly survey.
The Google Health Studies app seems like a really neat way to utilize federated learning for the common good. If you're ready to contribute to a better understanding of public health, the app can be downloaded from APK Mirror or the Play Store now, although there's no guarantee that you'll be eligible for any current studies.