No more random calls: Uber adds in-app chat feature

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

It'll be supported globally, though again you'll need a data connection in whatever country you're visiting if you want to actually have a conversation.

The new in-app chat service is starting to be rolled out to riders and drivers around the world and will continue to do so for the next few weeks.

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. When a driver receives a chat from a rider, the message will be read aloud - that way the driver can keep his or her eyes on the road.

Passengers and drivers will soon be able to communicate with each other using the Uber app. But while that technology is used in the USA, it isn't available in some emerging markets, which is what inspired Uber to build this new chat system, a spokesperson said. Now, Uber is making the whole process a whole lot simpler by doing what they probably should have done in the first place, and rolling out in-app messaging.

Basically, the features works like any other in-app chat feature.

"We are doing everything we can to prioritise the safety of those using the Uber app".

The chat function is primarily created to send the driver instructions about conditions and the pickup location, for example. This happens right inside the Uber application itself so you know exactly who is sending you that message. Uber's Product Manager Jeremy Lermitte explained that users in the market are cost sensitive and the majority of the users own limited SMS plans. This also means the Uber driver has your phone number, until today there was a very practical reason for that, to find you, exact location given Global Positioning System has some variability.

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.

Lastly, the feature is expected to be a way to make it easier for worldwide travelers to contact Uber drivers. "Drivers felt the cash option opened them up to new riders and provides the consumer with more choice", said Ayache.

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