Uber has announced a number of new updates today as it looks to help drivers and riders find each other on busy thoroughfares and junctions.
With live location sharing, riders are able to opt in and share their real-time location with drivers. This may be helpful in particularly busy locations or when it’s not immediately clear where a designated pickup spot is. Riders can activate this feature by tapping the little grey icon at the bottom right-hand side of the screen — when they tap this, they’ll be asked to confirm that they’re happy to share their location, and the icon will turn blue when it’s active.
Helpfully, the live location sharing feature automatically disables when the trip starts, though it can also be manually ended at any time.
It’s worth noting here that this is an extension of the existing trip-tracking functionality within Uber that allows riders to share their real-time location with loved ones. Elsewhere, other popular apps have also embraced live location sharing, including Google Maps, which announced such a feature in March, followed by Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
You may also remember that last year Uber introduced a new funky piece of hardware for drivers, called Beacon, which has a series of LED lights that makes it easier for riders to spot drivers. This was initially limited to a handful of conurbations in the U.S. and the U.K., but now Uber has announced that its Beacon service is expanding to New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago.
While Uber has offered gift cards for a while, the company is now introducing in-app gifting to make the process easier: Hit the “Send a Gift” option from the menu and then choose which of your friends or family members you want to send some Uber credit to, alongside a message. The credit can also be scheduled to be sent at a later time, for example when you know your daughter will be leaving a nightclub late, or perhaps for someone’s birthday.