With the coronavirus pandemic showing no signs of ebbing, Covid-19 contact tracing application Aarogya Setu has seen an uptick in downloads, with an estimated 12.5% of India’s population having downloaded the app, data from mobile app analytics firm Sensor Tower revealed.
Sensor Tower’s analysis focused on the adoption of Covid-19 contact tracing apps in 13 countries with a population of 20 Mn or more, such as Australia, Peru, Italy, Turkey, India and Japan, among others.
From all the countries surveyed, Australia, with 21.6% of its residents, saw the highest adoption rate of contact tracing apps. The Australian government’s COVIDSafe application has garnered 4.5 Mn downloads till date. Turkey, Germany, India and Italy ranked in the top five for the highest adoption rates for contact tracing applications.
The report mentions that of all the countries surveyed, India’s Covid-19 outlook is the most worrying, with the daily rise in active cases continuing to peak almost every day. Downloads for India’s nationwide contact-tracing app, Aarogya Setu, peaked in April with an estimated 80.8 million downloads from the App Store and Google Play.
Interestingly, while India ranks four in terms of the highest adoption rates with 12.5% of its population having downloaded the Aarogya Setu app, it ranks number one in terms of the absolute number of people who’ve downloaded a contact tracing app. This is, owing to India’s huge population, estimated to be 1.3 Bn people. With 127.6 Mn downloads for Aarogya Setu, India is far ahead of Turkey, which is ranked at number two with 11.1 Mn downloads for a contact tracing application. It is worth noting that India has made downloading the application mandatory for several sections of its population, such as those in government or private service, those travelling in public transport, among others.
In May, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) downgraded its rating of India’s Aarogya Setu app. Reportedly, the app lost points when judged against the parameters of ‘data minimisation’. Simply put, it meant that the app was asking its users to share more data than was needed for the app to function smoothly.
The report adds that while it has only considered contact tracing apps endorsed by the governments of the surveyed countries, the numbers could have been different if they had considered local contact tracing apps in these countries. For instance, in India, while Aarogya Setu commands an appeal on a country-wide scale, there are also localised contact tracing applications, such as Karnataka’s Corona Watch, and Surat’s SMC COVID-19 Tracker. However, the user base for these local apps is generally much smaller than Aarogya Setu’s, which on its own averaged about 495,000 downloads per day in June from first-time users.
It is also mentioned that the success of a Covid-19 contact tracing application may also depend on the users’ reviews for the app. While Australia’s COVIDSafe application remains the No 1 ranked app in the Health and Fitness category on the country’s App Store, in India, Aarogya Setu ranks No 1 in the ‘top free apps’ category on the Google Play Store.