Uber adds in-app messaging between riders and drivers


Uber is beginning to roll out a brand new in-app chat function globally at this time, which can enable riders to ship textual content messages on to their driver as soon as they guide a journey, and vice versa. The new function replaces the considerably clunky mechanism of SMS for textual content communication between rider and driver, serving to to protect privateness for either side in all markets, and slicing down on potential confusion.

Now, whenever you guide a journey, a chat possibility seems that permits you to message your driver straight. It’ll present your driver’s title, automobile kind and plate quantity on the prime of the messaging window, and you’ll see learn/obtained receipts for messages despatched. On the driving force facet, obtained messages can be learn aloud to assist decrease distraction, and drivers can acknowledge a message with one faucet to ship a ‘thumbs up’ emoji response. Drivers also can provoke chat, however the Uber driver app cautions straight within the messaging window that drivers ought to solely accomplish that when stopped and never really driving.

The in-app messaging function arose as a result of the SMS technique had a lot of areas the place it was missing from a person expertise perspective, based on Uber Product Manager Jeremy Lermitte. He defined in an interview that in some markets, there may be value sensitivity related to utilizing restricted SMS plans for getting in contact (and in some circumstances, drivers don’t have voice plans on their units in any respect for calls), and that’s only one amongst many causes to carry messaging in-app.

“In many of our markets, SMS isn’t actually available for us, we don’t have the technology in place,” Lermitte stated. “That’s especially true in some of our key markets like Brazil and India. 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.”

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Besides value, availability and privateness, Lermitte says Uber additionally heard that individuals needed extra visibility into whether or not or not their messages had been really being obtained and skim by both occasion. That’s one thing they may simply supply in-app, so as to add readability to the circulate of textual content communication and reassure each events concerned.

“Riders and drivers wanted to understand the status of their message,” he stated. “Did my driver read my message? Did the rider receive my message? Now we’re giving that delivered and read status which isn’t always available today with SMS technology.”

Built-in SMS additionally implies that travellers received’t be left unable to speak with their driver after they don’t have a world plan for roaming. Provided they’ll connect with a Wi-Fi hotspot, which is just about at all times the case at airports and different journey hubs, they’ll now be capable of talk with their driver.

“The riders really just wanted a consistent experience,” Lermitte famous. “Lots of stories with folks travelling internationally where, let’s say you land in Paris, and you’re in the airport, you don’t have a voice plan or a cellular plan setup, you can now just connect to Wi-Fi and communicate with your driver for the pickup.”

The built-in messaging function makes a variety of sense when you concentrate on it, and Lermitte says that it’s one thing Uber can supply with out requiring vital ongoing overhead to take care of. He additionally says that Uber remains to be placing sources behind constructing out this new function, which might develop sooner or later to cowl extra areas. While message threads disappear and communication is closed on the finish of a journey now, for example, they’ve heard some suggestions that this is perhaps a great way to verify for misplaced gadgets in future. Also, the staff has positively thought of VoIP audio calls as one other potential candidate for in-app inclusion, and can proceed to discover that.

Messaging may also be leveraged for Uber’s different companies, together with UberEATS, and makes a variety of sense there, too, as a future consideration, the corporate says. In-app communication could possibly be a vector for all types of potential enterprise extensions for Uber, too, together with connecting riders mid-ride with different companies and promotions. Regardless, it’s a sensible flag to plant, and an excellent new comfort function, too.

Featured Image: (Photo by Doug Patricio/Brazil Photo Press/LatinContent/Getty Images)/Getty Images

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