Analyst on Contact Tracing Feature From Alphabet, Apple: 'We Want Any Advantage We Can Get'
Apple and Alphabet will include a COVID-19 contact tracing feature in their iOS and Android operating systems, rather than requiring users to download an app.
For smartphones that opt in to the feature, Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems will use Bluetooth signals to track whether a user has come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The feature will not collect any identifying information from those who opt into it, but will be able to send notifications to users who may have been exposed to the virus.
The new system is called "Exposure Notifications Express,” and operates natively within Android and iOS. A previous version of the system required states to release an app using the system, which limited the usefulness of the system. The two tech giants released their initial exposure notification system in April, but adoption has lagged with only a small percentage of users downloading the app in states where it was available.
The new system will be available in the next updates of iOS and Android. Apple's latest iOS 13.7 for iPhones is out this week, and Google's newest version of Android will be available next month.
Jeff Marks, senior portfolio analyst with Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS, weighed in on these features--since the trust owns both Apple and Alphabet.
You can follow Katherine Ross on Twitter at @byKatherineRoss.