Published: Thu, August 10, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Uber Adds In-App Chat Feature

Uber Adds In-App Chat Feature

How do I know if my SMS was received? Those messages will be read out to the driver, reducing distraction, and they'll be able to either type out a response or send a one-tap "thumbs up" to acknowledge it. Read-receipts, showing that the recipient has seen the message, are supported on both ends of the conversation.

Uber is starting to roll out a new in-app chat feature globally today, which will allow riders to send text messages directly to their driver once they book a ride, and vice versa.

The app change follows several adjustments to the driver and rider experiences as Uber tries to retain drivers, fight off competition from Lyft, fight a legal battle against Waymo, and works to restaff its C-suite.

The rollout of the new messaging service begins today in the United States, Latin America, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and India, with Europe and the rest of the world coming over the next several weeks.

Up to now, the most annoying part of using Uber is when a passenger and driver can't find each other and need to get in touch.

One slightly annoying thing about Uber is that your driver sometimes has to call or text you to let you know they're arriving, held up in traffic or give you some other update about your ride. This is what Uber's new chat function aims to fix.

Currently, when a driver or rider needs to contact the other to clarify a pickup location or advise that they're running a few minutes late, the app will connect the two through a phone call or an SMS message.

Besides cost, availability and privacy, Lermitte says Uber also heard that people wanted more visibility into whether or not their messages were actually being received and read by either party. Now, all they need is to connect to a Wi-Fi connection, which most airports already have, to contact their drivers. Tell us what you think in the comments. Uber also wants to improve the voice-calling experience-"It would be a logical next step", said Lermitte-although the company said it has nothing to announce on that topic.

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