Google says 20 U.S. states 'exploring' contact tracing apps

OAKLAND, Calif., July 31 (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Friday that 20 U.S. states and territories, representing about 45% of the country’s population, are “exploring” contact tracing apps for the novel coronavirus using a tool it developed with Apple Inc.

Google had previously said in May that three states - Alabama, North Dakota and South Carolina - would be launching apps using the exposure notification tool.

In addition, the company said 16 countries and regions outside the U.S. had launched apps using the Apple-Google tool.

The technology enables app users to track encounters with other people through Bluetooth signals and anonymously notify contacts if they later become infected with the virus. (Reporting by Paresh Dave; editing by Diane Craft)