BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - MAY 02: A woman shows his Uber app as the smartphone application started accepting payment through debit cards in Brazil on May 02, 2017 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. (Photo by Doug Patricio/Brazil Photo Press/LatinContent/Getty Images)

No, it’s not just the YouTube. Uber is also rolling out a new feature to its app which is Uber in app messaging feature. This feature will enable you to send text messages directly to the driver once you book a ride and driver can also ping you. So, now you will no more receive a text SMS from an unknown number; saying, “Where are you?” Instead, you and the driver you booked, can now communicate via an in-app feature in the Uber app. This will not only have a record of your conversation right on the app but also preserve the privacy on both sides.

From now onwards, whenever you book a ride, a chat option pops to help you have words with your driver so as to locate him or ask him about when he would possibly come. At the top of the messaging window, there will the driver’s name and his vehicle details written. Also, it will show you the messages sent, seen or received receipts.

On the other hand, the driver will get your message in the form of voice. That means those messages from you will read aloud to the driver in order to avoid any distraction to ensure safe driving. Moreover, the driver can acknowledge your message with a tap only in the form of a thumbs-up emoji. However, the driver can also kick off the chat but as per Uber’s Driver caution suggests; the driving must not do that while driving. He is permissible to initiate chatting if the car is stopped.

The company intends to replace the conventional and clunky SMS communication method with Uber in app messaging feature because they feel in many markets it was not helpful from users’ perspective. The Uber Product Manager, Jeremy Lermitte talked about this in an interview. He said the cost limitation factor was hindering the communication between the driver and the rider. In some cases, the drivers sometimes run short of SMS plan and voice plan; that creates confusion in locating the rider. So, it is one among the many reasons of bringing Uber in-app messaging feature.

“In many of our markets, SMS isn’t actually available for us, we don’t have the technology in place,” Lermitte said. “That’s especially true in some of our key markets like Brazil and India. And then in other emerging markets where we do offer SMS, we don’t have the technology in place to anonymize the personal contact info, so the rider and driver are actually sharing their personal contact information in some of those markets.”

Apart from cost sensitivity, Lemmitte thinks that users want more clarity in knowing whether or not their message has been delivered or acknowledged by the other party. That is something they can easily attain in Uber in-app messaging feature; they will get the clarity in the flow of text communication with receipts of the message sent, received and seen.

“Riders and drivers wanted to understand the status of their message,” he said. “Did my driver read my message? Did the rider receive my message? Now we’re giving that delivered and read status which isn’t always available today with SMS technology.”

Seemingly, it is a good step that facilitates not only those Uber users living in their hometown but also the travelers who do not have international roaming. All they need to do is to simply get Wifi from anywhere and stay in touch with Uber driver. In all fairness, it is a fruitful seed to plant in and a feature of great convenience for the people.

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