On Thursday, ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies announced a new in-app messaging feature that will allow riders to send text messages directly to their driver once a ride is booked, and vice versa. Rather than placing a call or sending a message with your phone's default service, there's now an instant messenger client built right into the Uber app. Drivers can acknowledge receipt with one tap to their app to send a "thumbs up" to their rider. When the driver receives the message, it will be read aloud to them so they can focus on the road. Instead of calling your Uber driver and getting no response - or trying to find your vehicle in a sea of other people looking for their Uber - the company is bringing a chat feature to the app. The global rollout of the new chat feature has begun, so it should reach everyone in the next few days. There, they can shoot a quick text to their driver about their exact location, or whatever else helps facilitate a smooth pickup. Previously, riders either received a text from an unknown number which was usually their driver or the driver ended up honking like insane outside the pickup location. He also says that Uber is still putting resources behind building out this new feature, which could expand in the future to cover more areas.
Ordering an Uber is one thing.
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Uber says the most prominent reason for this addition is that a ton of users relied on SMS previously for interacting with their driver.
"That's especially true in some of our key markets like Brazil and India". VoIP calls could come to the app next, and messaging could also be added to UberEATS. "And then in other emerging markets where we do offer SMS, we don't have the technology in place to anonymize the personal contact info, so the rider and driver are actually sharing their personal contact information in some of those markets". Make sure you have the latest version of the app to use it and stay tuned for more updates!