But please don’t poke your driver
Need an Uber? Now it’s as easy as sending a message.
On Wednesday, Facebook announced it is partnering with Uber to provide Messenger users with the ability to request transportation from within the app. You can now request, track, and pay for a ride in Messenger.
Stay in-app (forever)
“With this new feature, you can request a ride from a car service without ever needing to download an extra app or leave a conversation,” said Facebook product manager Seth Rosenberg in a blog post. “It’s super easy and doesn’t take you away from the plans that you’re making with your friends or family.”
As simple as pressing a button
The location-based Uber-for-Messenger feature is available in the newest version of Messenger. You can request an Uber either by tapping the car icon, or from directly within a conversation by tapping the more menu and choosing Transportation. From there, you’ll receive updates on your driver’s status and the app will notify your friends that you’ve called a ride. Even users who have never used Uber before can sign up without leaving Messenger.
Making Messenger more useful
Facebook has been trying to build Messenger into more than just a communications app. Transportation integration is just one part of Facebook’s broad strategy to make Messenger “really useful.” The company is trying to do just that by branding Messenger as a functional stand-alone app.
Over the past year, Messenger has added integrations with retailers, brands, and hotels. The app also has a feature so users can send money to friends and Messenger for business lets companies send order updates to customers. Ultimately, curating third party sources within Messenger is just another way Facebook is positioning itself as your de facto gateway to the internet.
Win-win for Uber and Facebook
Uber also stands to benefit from the access it will now have to Messenger’s user base. With over 700 million monthly active users on Messenger, that’s quite a win for Uber. While only time will tell how useful the feature will be for consumers, this is definitely a boon for both companies.
First ride free
For a limited time, the first ride is free (up to $20 value). All you have to do to claim your free ride is link your existing Uber account or set up a new account within Messenger and request a ride. The fine print? The service is currently only available to select Uber users in the United States. However, Facebook is expecting to expand the service with more countries and other transportation partners to be available soon.