As announced at a San Francisco conference Thursday according to a report, Uber is offering a fourth way for users to communicate with drivers and vice versa: in-app data calling.
For many countries across the world, it’s cheaper to make calls over the internet than cellularly; if you’re an international traveler, data calling is often the only option. It’s no wonder a global transportation service like Uber would want to join the VoIP (or voice of internet protocol) movement. In fact, the ride-hailing service has been working on the feature since June, but just this week it became available, according to The Verge.
Uber has long provided users with an internet-based in-app chat function, as well as the options to send SMS text messages and make phone calls through a telephone network. Unfortunately, users were finding themselves in situations where the in-app chat wasn’t enough to adequately connect them to a driver when a cellular network wasn’t available. Now, whether a message needs to be sent or a call made, the entire service can take place online via the app.
Streamlined communication is essential for transportation services, and the VoIP option is a trending feature that both connects people and saves them money. As Gagan Mac, project manager for communications at Uber noted, “smooth pickups hinge on seamless communication between riders and drivers,” and such an addition puts the company just a step ahead of other popular ride-hailing services like Lyft or Easy Taxi.