Last month, Uber redesigned its app with an emphasis on machine learning to further personalize the rider experience. Included in that announcement were two features that are now launching: an integration with Snapchat and the ability to select people you want to meet, not just places you want to go.
For many, rides are often uneventful experiences in which you simply get into a car and fiddle with your phone to distract you while you’re getting from point A to point B. But Uber wants you to spend more time in its app while en route to your destination. Some of the earliest implementations include enabling you to order food through Uber Eats before you get home and making it possible to access exclusive content for the latest Star Wars movie. Now Snapchat is being added into the mix.
Riders can access exclusive filters made just for Uber that are designed to be shared. So if you’re running late and want to send an estimated time of arrival, or you just want to show how baller you are in an Uber, pop open the Uber app for the option to post to Snapchat. Find the Snap card in the Uber app, select the type of filter you want to use, and swipe right. To make things more interesting, you can apply a standard Snapchat filter on top of the special Uber options.
Traditionally, we’ve used Uber to get from one address to another. But what about when we’re more interested in the people we’re meeting, and the place itself can be fluid?
Uber now lets you select individuals that you want to meet up with in order to chart your destination. So if I’m interested in meeting with my VentureBeat colleague Jordan Novet but don’t know where he is, I can just tell Uber to go to him. In order for this to work, I’m going to need to sync my phone’s address book with Uber so it can parse through the phone numbers and match them up with existing riders. Then, I simply type anyone’s name into the app in the “Where to” text field. Uber will send a request to that person asking to receive their current location. If they accept, the app can set the destination. Then, once you’re on your way, Uber will share your ETA with your friend so they know how long to wait. Both parties must use the app in order for this to work.
This is similar, in some ways, to sharing your location through iMessage. However it’s hard to say how well it will go over with privacy advocates. Uber already received outrage from users over a setting that continues to track your location even when you’re not using the app.
But Uber is focusing on convenience and personalization with these new features. “We designed the new Uber app around you — and our core beliefs that time is a luxury and that the information you need should always be at your fingertips. Gone are the days when everyone’s app looks the same,” the company’s senior product manager, Yuhki Yamashita, wrote in a blog post last month. “The new Uber experience is reimagined around a simple question — ‘Where to?’ After all, you use Uber to get somewhere — or to someone. And by starting with your destination, we can tailor the journey to you.”
You should be able to use the Snapchat filters in your next ride and can begin syncing your contacts within Uber (if you want to) starting today.