Google, Apple Roll Out Coronavirus Contact Tracing Technology

Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Alphabet Inc.’s Google (GOOGL) are rolling out their joint contact-tracing software technology targeted to help public health authorities control and slowdown the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

About 22 countries and several U.S. states are planning to build voluntary phone apps using their software, the two companies said in a joint statement. The initial version of the technology, which alerts users if they have come into contact with a Covid-19 infected individual, is available to public health agencies for both iOS and Android smartphones. Public health agencies will incorporate the API technology into their own apps that people install.

“Technology can help health officials rapidly tell someone they may have been exposed to COVID-19,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a Twitter post. “The Exposure Notification API we created with Google is available to help public health agencies make their COVID-19 apps effective while protecting user privacy.”

The rare collaboration between the two rival tech giants uses bluetooth wireless technology to detect when someone who downloaded the app has spent time near another app user who later tests positive for the virus. They emphasized that the system does not collect or use location from the device.

“If a person is diagnosed with Covid-19, it is up to them whether or not to report that in the public health app,” the two companies said in the joint statement.

For the technology to be effective, smartphone users must voluntarily opt into the system and add to their public health app if they test positive for Covid-19.

Looking at the digital giants’ ratings, TipRanks data shows that the consensus of Wall Street analysts view both Alphabet’s Google and Apple as Strong Buy stocks. Alphabet’s $1,488.09 average price target implies 5.6% upside potential in the coming year.

Following Apple’s 29% stock rally in the past two months, the $317.92 average price target by analysts indicates 0.4% downside potential in the next 12 months.

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