09 January 2020
Uber app is all set to undergo a major overhaul that will change the way app works and users interact with it. This significant change is part of the company's plans to bring all of its services under a single umbrella. Uber started as a simple on-demand cab provider but since then, it has expanded many folds by adding services food ordering (Uber Eats), booking a helicopter, and public transit among others. It now wants to streamline the process of using all of these services through one single place i.e. the main Uber app.
Since it is a big change, Uber does not want to rush into things or force users to change their ways of using services. It said that various redesigned forms of the current Uber app will be tested across different international cities including the United States. This will help the team decide which particular version is performing how and depending on the feedback, it will release the best and optimal version globally.
One of the test versions has an interface where you will two options Get a Ride and Order Food instead of the usual map view and a text field to enter the destination. A second interface that is being tested retains the existing interface with the map view but adds two tabs at the bottom for booking a cab and ordering food.
Other than the UI changes, Uber announced a number of new features that will be included in future updates. The first one is related to providing additional security to users so that they can be assured that they are riding in the right cab. There is a new optional feature where the user can choose to receive a 4-digit one-time password (OTP) which you will have to share with the cab driver. Only when the correct OTP is entered by the driver, the ride will begin. The team is further working on an ultrasound waves-based technology that will automatically verify whether it is the same cab that you booked.
Uber is adding on-trip reporting functionality so that users don't have to wait until the trip is over for reporting any incident. While the report can be submitted during the trip, Uber's safety team will get back to the user only after the trip is over. It is further expanding the emergency contact feature by allowing users to send texts to 911. This particular new feature will work in only those countries and cities which support texting to 911.
The Real-Time ID check feature is also being improved as drivers will now be required to make movements like turning the head, blink and smile for verifying their identity. It is an extra layer of security in addition to the existing feature of sharing selfies for identification.
Lastly, Uber is adding a new Bike Lane Alerts feature which will work exactly the way the name suggests. Whenever a user was about to be dropped near a bike lane, the app will send an alert so that the user can open the cab door and deboard carefully. It is aimed at preventing any mishaps and will be available in over 200 cities worldwide.