Connect Ahead of the Pickup with In-App Chat

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You no longer have to exchange texts with your Uber driver from your personal phone number. In addition to that, read and delivery receipts are enabled as well so that you would know for sure if the recipient has received the texts.

The chat functionality is a feature that no doubt also serves to protect Uber's passengers and drivers. It's now easier than ever to get in touch. Here's how it works: Once a rider opens the app, they can tap "contact" and then "chat". This will bring up a very familiar messaging interface where users can directly chat with their driver. Rather than placing a call or sending a message with your phone's default service, there's now an instant messenger client built right into the Uber app. When drivers receives a chat from the rider, it will be read aloud to them. They can also warn drivers of local road closures or traffic conditions that they may not be aware of. And the calling feature could lead to awkward conversations while riders and drivers tried to locate one another.

To send a message to your driver, riders can select "contact" then "chat" in the feed section of the Uber app. Provided they can connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot, which is pretty much always the case at airports and other travel hubs, they'll now be able to communicate with their driver.

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Speaking to TechCrunch, Uber Product Manager Jeremy Lermitte said the feature was introduced because in certain markets drivers and customers don't have unlimited SMS or calls included in their plans, which creates a cost issue.

"In many of our markets, SMS isn't actually available for us, we don't have the technology in place, that's especially true in some of our key markets like Brazil and India".

Riders can clarify the pickup location or provide any other pertinent information. Both riders and drivers will see if their chats are delivered and read, to confirm the other actually received the communication.

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