Uber Adds In-App Chat Feature

By Angela Moscaritolo Features PCmag

Communicating with your Uber driver is about to get a little less confusing. Uber on Thursday introduced an in-app chat feature, which will be rolling out globally for riders and drivers over the "coming weeks."

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"Today riders and drivers can contact one another using apps outside of Uber," Product Manager Jeremy Lermitte wrote in a blog post. "But these texts can lack context – is this random number my driver? How do I know if my SMS was received?"

To make things a little more straightforward, Uber is adding a way for riders and drivers to chat inside the app. Go to the Uber feed and tap "contact," then select "chat."

Because texting and driving is a huge no-no, Uber will read your text aloud to the driver. Drivers will be able to respond with a "thumbs up" to acknowledge they got the message. Sending this thumbs up requires just one tap, so the driver "can stay focused on the road," Lermitte wrote. 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.

Besides making things less confusing, this new feature offers one big advantage over SMS: you don't have to share your phone number with some random person.

"Regardless of where they are located – whether it be the Cleveland, Chennai or Cartagena – riders and drivers won't need to share their phone number with one another when they need to get in touch," Lermitte wrote. He added that this is Uber's "first step towards leveraging real-time messaging to enable seamless communication experiences for our customers."

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Uber also recently launched in-app tipping and added a feature that lets you request a ride for someone else.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.