How Uber's new in-app Messaging could be a lifesaver

Uber, the ubiquitous transportation company has rolled out a new chat system, that allow its drivers and riders to communicate with chat via the mobile app, which hitherto communication had been based on SMS and direct call.

While Uber employed anonymizing technology to mask riders phone number (and driver’s) when they call or text outside the app in the U.S., it isn’t available in some emerging markets.

As such, the issue of privacy and security had always popped up, coupled with the nuisance of Uber riders having the creepy situation whereby he/she receives a text from an unknown number, asking for their location, while waiting for ride.

The new in-app messaging system will eliminate the need for riders and drivers to share their phone numbers to get in touch.

As all the rider needs is to select a contact, then initiate a chat in the feed section of the Uber app, and send a message to the driver about their location. The “Contact” button opens a Messenger-like screen which allow riders to communicate with their drivers on anything else that helps the driver to locate them easily.

The Uber driver may not need to text back as the the system is capable of reading out the messages, especially expedient when the driver is behind the wheel.

And both the rider and driver will be able to see if their chats are delivered and read, with a confirmation that the other person had actually received the message.

Uber's effort to serve as a complete utility app can be seen in the recent update to the app, which allow riders to slightly alter their pickup location; if perhaps a mistaken wrong address is given, they can still edit pickup location even when the driver is already on the way.
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