Many took issue with Facebook spinning Facebook Messenger off into its own separate mobile app, but today’s inclusion might ease the transition. The social network king announced today Uber integration directly within Messenger. Simply share an address, tap on it and select Request a Ride.
Riders get their first Uber free when ordering via Messenger (up to $20), for new Uber users and existing. Uber newbies can register within Messenger.
Many apps in 2015 continue to look for ways to prevent users from leaving the app, in hopes of being the one-stop-shop for any and all needs. Snapchat’s Discover section, for example, offers news and video clips so users remain updated on the world while staying within Snapchat’s borders. We’ve seen Facebook’s Messenger platform used to handle purchases previously with Everlane and customer service with Hyatt.
Facebook’s decision to include third-party application functionality may not stop at Uber. We could see this functionality expanded to Lyft, Gett and other car-summoning apps. Facebook could also perhaps expand Messenger to include mobile apps that allow users to order items, buy tickets or check on their smart home devices. Programs like WeChat in China have shown the power of natural language apps within a messaging app.
While crowning one mobile application as the one to rule them all may take a while, there is something to be said for only having to master one interface. And having that interface work for you instead of jumping through hoops–getting an address, switching apps, and pasting it into Uber, for instance.
For now, the capability is limited to American users, but we expect it to expand worldwide wherever Facebook and Uber operate, eventually. As Facebook said in a press statement: “This service is currently in testing and will be available to select users in the locations where Uber operates in the United States. More countries and other transportation partners will be available soon.”
With companies like Google looking to provide competition in the taxi space with their autonomous vehicles, having Uber being everywhere and easy to use will continue to be a priority for the company. The ability to quickly convert shared addresses to hailed cabs will only give smartphone owners more reasons to use the service. Along with Facebook expanding this service, we may see Uber look to be part of more services as well.