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Apr 12, 2001
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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.jpg

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.

Article Link: Uber Updates With In-App Chat Between Riders and Drivers
 

dmylrea

macrumors 68040
Sep 27, 2005
3,334
4,221
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.
 
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BBCWatcher

macrumors regular
Jan 28, 2008
116
60
Maine
Uber's arch rival in Southeast Asia, Grab, introduced in-app rider-driver chatting in October, 2016 -- about 10 months ago. Grab also now has auto translation between rider and driver so, for example, a driver who understands Vietnamese can communicate with a rider who understands English. However, Uber might do a slightly better job preventing distracted driving. I don't think GrabChat will read out messages to drivers.
 
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InuNacho

macrumors 68000
Apr 24, 2008
1,519
686
In that one place
"...when the driver gets the message the app will read it aloud to them automatically so they aren't distracted."
That is true but they still need to see the notification, tap to act on it, and then further act on it. Besides, people instinctively look at notifications anyhow so its still texting/distracted driving.
 
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dannys1

macrumors 68030
Sep 19, 2007
2,947
5,284
UK
Just what i've always wanted. The ability to converse with my taxi driver both before and after entering his cab.

I can now text "Have you been busy" before he even arrives!
 
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rjlawrencejr

macrumors 6502
Jun 7, 2007
392
41
LA/OC/IE
As an Uber driver, I like the idea. If it works as advertised, it will be much more seamless than receiving a text message from the passenger.
 
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thisisnotmyname

macrumors 68020
Oct 22, 2014
2,394
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known but velocity indeterminate
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. :)
 
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D.T.

macrumors G4
Sep 15, 2011
11,051
12,436
Vilano Beach, FL
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.
 
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BruiserB

macrumors 68000
Aug 9, 2008
1,631
539
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.
 
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D.T.

macrumors G4
Sep 15, 2011
11,051
12,436
Vilano Beach, FL
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.

Thanks, I never bothered to research this, but it's pretty clearly documented on Uber's site. That makes a ton of sense, otherwise there would be some privacy issues, plus it prevent direct contact outside of Uber (of course, the driver can provide their personal contact details as wanted).

The reason I thought that wasn't the case, is semi-recently we had to contact the driver after the drop off (our doggie bag!), and we were able to text them (assuming there's maybe a small window of time where the temp allocation stays active).
 
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x-evil-x

macrumors 603
Jul 13, 2008
5,151
2,818
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]

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.
Exactly. This is a welcomed feature and I tried finding a way to contact the person in the app when I first started after calling them and no replies and them not showing. This should of been in the app at the start. Nothing wrong with having a chat system for drivers when the passengers are not the brightests to find where you are on a map. Having them tell me where to be is much much better.
 
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trav

macrumors member
Mar 6, 2008
81
1
Wisconsin/Illinois
...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. :)

You're the only one then. We need more riders like you. Most don't pay attention to where they put their pin and don't pay attention to any of my info. It's always shocking when I call to find someone and they ask what kind of car I'm in as if it wasn't already provided to them.
 
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wordup60

macrumors member
Jul 5, 2012
64
56
Uber's arch rival in Southeast Asia, Grab, introduced in-app rider-driver chatting in October, 2016 -- about 10 months ago. Grab also now has auto translation between rider and driver so, for example, a driver who understands Vietnamese can communicate with a rider who understands English. However, Uber might do a slightly better job preventing distracted driving. I don't think GrabChat will read out messages to drivers.

Grab's user experience has been streets ahead of Uber's for ages, and continues to be. Full dollar amounts, free cancellations, fixed pricing including for taxis, the JustGrab option where either a taxi or a GrabCar turns up, and many more. Combine that with Uber's ****** corporate culture and that they now require you to have location services turned on at all times, and I've very happily waved good-bye to Uber.
 
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jw2002

macrumors 6502
Feb 23, 2008
391
59
"...when the driver gets the message the app will read it aloud to them automatically so they aren't distracted."

However, aren't there recent studies suggesting that audio delivered text messages might be just as distracting as screen based ones?
 
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