Starting with Uber, Facebook Messenger now lets users order Transporation – more services coming soon. The deal is that by ordering a car to pick you up via the Messenger app, it will alert everyone in your chat conference that you’re indeed on your way. You know, instead of lying through your teeth that you’re almost at the coffee shop, when in reality you’re still playing Rocket League.
Facebook isn’t the first to think of this awesome idea. Messaging and calling app WeChat, which is primarily used outside of the United States, allows its users to grab rides on ridesharing platforms such as China-based Didi. Because there’s a Chinese rideshare war going on in the Middle Kingdom, Tencent, which is WeChat’s parent company, has blocked users from hailing Uber cars a number of times.
Facebook says that they didn’t look for WeChat for inspiration. Well, not necessarily. The company was mainly inspired by how popular the Messenger app has become, and the fact that group chats are growing in popularity as well – notes Seth Rosenberg, Facebook product manager.
How does the new Uber feature work?
Users can order an Uber car via Facebook’s Messenger by clicking either on the car icon, or going to the three-dot menu and choosing Transportation – the more menu can be found just under the window where you see your messages.
Afterwards, you’ll be prompted with Uber’s Request Ride option – set up a pick up location, where you want to go, what type of car you want to ride in and you’re done.
Everyone who will use Facebook’s new Messenger feature will get a $20 Uber credit. This is incredibly rare, as Uber almost never hands out free credits to people who are newcomers to their service. Somehow, Facebook has convinced the ridesharing platform to entice people to use Messenger Transportation.
Rosenberg adds that the company is starting to let people get acquainted with the idea that they can message more than just people on their app. He continues by noting some use cases where people can book flights or nab tickets – for movies, theatres, concerts; via Messenger.
This bodes pretty well with Uber’s growth strategy – let others use their API. The ridesharing company’s developer platform was launched earlier this year. It shares $5 per new user – that’s a great incentive if you ask me.
However, Uber won’t be the only ridesharing service available in Facebook’s Messenger. TechCrunch sources that are close to the matter have told the website that Lyft will most likely be available through Messenger starting with January of 2016.
Messenger will also offer KLM – a flight-booking service; next year, but there’s no official date on when exactly that’s going to happen.
Uber also sees a ton of potential to test their real-time customer service with Facebook’s Messenger – something that Uber isn’t that well known for having.
Facebook says that there are about 700 million people using Messenger. Yet, the feature will begin to roll out to a few U.S. cities starting with today. A spokesperson for Uber has said that the feature should be available for everyone in the United State by Christmas.
Image Source: 1