We all know the feeling of being stranded outside a bar, with no shoes, coat or dignity, desperately in need of a ride home. For millions of people, the ride-sharing app Uber was the perfect solution, allowing people in over 500 cities worldwide to find a ride home by simply pushing a few buttons on their phone. The simplicity and convenience of Uber have always been strengths, but the company has upped the stakes with the Uber Facebook Messenger bot which allows users to hail a ride and sign up for Uber without even downloading the app.
Desperate travelers simply open up a Facebook chat with Uber and tap the small car icon to get started. To pay for a ride you will need an account, but you can sign up for the service within minutes from Messenger. The social aspect of Facebook lends new powers to Uber’s already impressive repertoire. Using group chats on Messenger, users can send information about rides to their friends, co-workers and frantic mothers. Most useful are pre-populated ETAs on when you’re due to arrive and your current location. Furthermore, requesting a ride in a group chat allows other participants to immediately see all of the information, so the stress of being a group organizer is diminished.
“We’re in the business of being where people are, so it’s not sufficient to say, well you guys need to come to where we are and what we think is comfortable for us,” says Chris Messina, Uber’s developer experience lead in an interview at Uber headquarters. “We need to get out there and be present where people are spending their time and are comfortable.”
See the full demo of the Uber integration with Messenger below:
Have you tried Uber’s Facebook Messenger or or the Uber Alexa Skill on Amazon Echo? Let us know what you think in the comments below.