Google, Apple Are Teaming Up on Virus Tracking Software for Phones

Collectively, Android and iPhones reach billions of people worldwide.
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Google  (GOOGL) - Get Report and Apple  (AAPL) - Get Report are collaborating on a piece of mobile software that would help track the spread of coronavirus, the companies revealed on Friday. 

The opt-in tool would be embedded in Android and iOS operating systems, and is designed for "contact tracing" -- in other words, tracking how the virus spreads from person to person. 

The tool would tell people if they have been in contact with someone who was infected with the virus, and also allow users report to a public health agency is they have been infected. 

Meanwhile, the software also tracks who the user has been in contact with by regularly logging the information of other phones they come into contact with. 

The tool is slated to launch within a few months, and marks one of the most sweeping technological efforts to fight the spread of coronavirus. Between the number of Android and iPhones in use worldwide, the tool has the potential to reach billions. 

Google's Verily live sciences unit also recently established a testing system available in the Bay Area, which allows people to report symptoms and then be matched with a testing site if they qualify. The company aspires to expand the system to other parts of the U.S., but hasn't provided a specific timeline for doing so. 

Apple also released its own app and screening tool based on guidance from the CDC in late March, and has been involved in other efforts to combat coronavirus, such as designing face shields to protect front-line health care workers treating coronavirus patients and sourcing masks through its sprawling global supply chain.