Uber Debuts In-App Messaging to Make Texting Your Driver Easier

Uber App screenshot

Riders can text their en route driver by going to the Uber feed and tapping on "contact" followed by "chat".

A rider can send a text via chat to a driver with location details or other information. Chats received by the driver will be read aloud to them so as to minimize distraction when they're behind the wheel.

Uber announced on Thursday the addition of in-app messaging, which allows you to get in touch with your driver without leaving the app. Ahead, see more images of how chatting on the Uber app actually works. The new in-app chat feature also includes read receipts so both the driver and passenger will know if their chats are delivered and read. The driver can then respond with one tap of their device to send a thumbs up to the rider. "That's especially true in some of our key markets like Brazil and India". Nevertheless, Uber is trying to fix the nuisance with a new in-app chat feature.

Regardless, the new feature is rolling out worldwide today, so only time - and, knowing Uber, probably a lot of trial and error - will tell how emoji and auto-dictation will affect the Uber experience. That's the reason why the Uber app's chat feature supports delivered/read statuses - something that's not widely supported with SMS messages.

"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.

Uber has always supported contacting a driver once a auto has been assigned, though it's relied on methods outside of the app to actually do so. Some might be entering a different country without global roaming plans, making it impossible to contact Uber drivers. Provided they can connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot, which is pretty much always the case at airports and other travel hubs, they'll now be able to communicate with their driver.

While the messaging feature is only being rolled out to Uber's ride-sharing service at present, the company is also considering the idea of implementing it to its other businesses like UberEATS, as pointed out by TechCrunch.

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