OAKLAND, Calif. — In one of the most far-ranging attempts to halt the spread of the coronavirus, Apple and Google said they were building software into smartphones that would tell people if they were in recent contact with someone who was infected with the virus.
The technology giants said they were teaming up to release the tool within several months, building it into the operating systems of the billions of iPhones and Android devices around the world. That would enable the smartphones to constantly log other devices they get close to, enabling “contact tracing” of the disease.
With the tool, infected people would notify a public health app that they have the coronavirus, which would then alert phones that had recently come into proximity with that infected person’s device.
Google and Apple said the tool would protect the privacy of smartphone users and that people would have to opt in to use it.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.