Ride hailing app Uber today announced an in-app chat feature that lets riders and drivers communicate with one another without leaving the app. Uber said this update allows drivers to better communicate with riders when sudden road closures or other delays happen en route to the rider's location.

Riders can also send chats to drivers to indicate where they're waiting for the car, or give a distinct piece of clothing or accessory to allow the driver to easily identify them.

uber messaging
To do so, riders can navigate to the Uber feed, tap "contact," and then tap "Chat," and when the driver gets the message the app will read it aloud to them automatically so they aren't distracted. A one-tap response feature sends a quick thumbs up to the rider so they know their message was read.

Every great ride starts with the pickup, so we’re always thinking about ways to make the pickup experience as frictionless as possible for riders and drivers alike. That includes helping riders and drivers connect should they need to get in touch with one another to solve for things like road closures, or to just provide information on their exact location.

So we’re adding a way for riders and drivers to chat right in the Uber app. It’s now easier than ever to get in touch.

Speaking with TechCrunch, Uber product manager Jeremy Lermitte said this will help keep user data more private, because drivers and riders won't have to share personal contact information outside of Uber. Additionally, the company is considering adding the chat feature into other apps, including UberEATS.

In-app chat is rolling out globally over the coming weeks to all Uber riders and drivers, and the company described the update as a "first step" towards introducing more communication and messaging experiences within its app.

Tag: Uber

Top Rated Comments

earthTOmitchel Avatar
52 months ago
as if uber drivers weren't distracted enough
I like Uber drivers because they text and drive.
"...when the driver gets the message the app will read it aloud to them automatically so they aren't distracted."
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sputnikv Avatar
52 months ago
as if uber drivers weren't distracted enough
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
InuNacho Avatar
52 months ago
I like Uber drivers because they text and drive.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Wackery Avatar
52 months ago
I'm not reinstalling until they turn off always on tracking, or until iOS 11
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dmylrea Avatar
52 months ago
You didn’t think they would read the article before spouting their nonsense did you?
You don't think Uber and Lyft drivers aren't already distracted while driving? More often than not, when I see a driver going slow for no reason, or I think is otherwise distracted, it's a Uber / Lyft driver, holding their phone, staring at it, trying to figure out where they are, etc. Just because you're not punching in letters to a text message doesn't mean your not being distracted other ways by your phone.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BruiserB Avatar
52 months ago
I don't want to communicate with my driver though, I want them to use the information in the app about my pickup and drop off location. All the necessary data is there, don't call me, don't text me, don't message me, just go to the point I marked on the map and pick me up. I have your car make/model and license plate and will wave when you arrive. :)
As an occasional driver, I can say that you are the ideal passenger. We don't want to talk to you either! I just want to drive to the pickup location and find you waiting. I especially hate when a passenger calls just after requesting to tell me where they are....or worse...to ask if I can come get them in 3 hours!?! Some people just don't get how the service works. I never call a passenger. I only text. And I only text after arriving to the pin location and not seeing the passenger. Moving the communication in-app is actually a great move. And the option to give a quick "thumbs-up" response will save me from having to switch to the Messages app and type "thanks" when a customer feels it's necessary to tell me something when I'm on the way. So this is actually eliminating texting while driving....not adding to it.
[doublepost=1502388052][/doublepost]
This is actually a terrific idea - I always disliked having my standard contact information exposed (via text messages), this will - if what I'm assuming about the implementation is correct - contained in the Uber sandbox.
Drivers never got your contact info when you texted or called them. And you didn't get theirs when they answered. The numbers both sides saw were dummy temporary numbers that only enabled communication between the time you requested the ride and were dropped off and are not the actual numbers of either the driver or passenger.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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