Uber launches in-app chat feature

Uber adds in-app driver-rider chat facility for greater convenience and privacy

"How do I know if my SMS was received?"

Following an extended period of turmoil at the company, Uber launched its "180 Days of Change" mission in June and have since rolled out a tipping option for drivers. This will bring up a very familiar messaging interface where users can directly chat with their driver.

Because texting and driving is a huge no-no, Uber will read your text aloud to the driver.

Many-a-times, it is more convenient to just message the driver and tell them the exact location, especially when you're in a poor network coverage area.

Nearly a year later, after receiving mixed feedback from drivers, the company has now launched a new pilot function called the cash indicator, which allows drivers to turn down cash trips. The driver can then respond with one tap of their device to send a thumbs up to the rider.

But a bigger thing it fixes, from a personal privacy standpoint, is that you no longer have to give out your number to every driver who picks you up. The chat window will also show the driver's name, vehicle type, and the plate number. Integrated chat is a great feature, but the application could do with in app calling as well.

"In many of our markets, SMS isn't actually available for us, we don't have the technology in place", said Uber Product Manager Jeremy Lermitte in an interview. Unfortunately, not all users get to enjoy this technology and while it is available in the US and other countries, it isn't available in certain emerging markets. Chats are sent using the same contact button you previously used to send texts. Uber has now made this easier by introducing an integrated messaging service within the application itself. Some might be entering a different country without worldwide roaming plans, making it impossible to contact Uber drivers.

This update is the most recent from the company that aims to enhance both the driver and customer experience.

The in-app messaging can also serve other Uber businesses such as the UberEATS.

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