Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google released technology Wednesday to help governments track the spread of Covid-19 through apps that notify users if they have been exposed to someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.
The tech giants, which make the world’s dominant smartphone operating systems, jointly developed the protocol for apps that can use Bluetooth signals from mobile devices to identify those that have been near each other.
U.S. states including North Dakota, Alabama and South Carolina, as well as 22 countries, have requested and received access to the newly released technology, the companies said.
The technology, which was previously released in beta versions, is intended to complement health workers’ use of conventional means to trace infected people’s contacts. The apps may need a high level of user adoption to effectively track Covid-19 outbreaks, public-health experts say.
Though Apple and Google are providing tools for developers, they aren’t releasing their own exposure-notification apps.