Uber is merging its ride-hailing and meals supply apps, including a raft of latest security options, boosting alternate modes of journey like bikes, scooters, and public transportation, and getting concerned in “virtual restaurants,” along with dozens of different product bulletins that quantity to a serious bid to turn out to be, as the corporate’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says, “the operating system for your everyday life.”
The firm rolled out the product updates at an elaborate, Apple-like occasion in San Francisco on September 26th. But first, Khosrowshahi sat down for an unique interview with The Verge to clarify why overhauling the app is sensible at a time when Uber is struggling to stem its large money losses, dealing with questions on its method to security, and preventing a number of regulatory battles across the nation.
“We don’t just live in the digital sphere, and the real world comes with all kinds of complications,” Khosrowshahi stated. “And for us, the challenge is: how do we navigate those complications and how do we make sure that we’re a constructive part of everyone’s life?”
You can learn extra from our interview with Khosrowshahi right here.
Uber’s asserting plenty of stuff, so let’s take one factor at a time.
The dwelling display
Uber goes to look totally different proper out of the gate. When you first open the app, as a substitute of seeing the map and the search bar asking the place you’d wish to go to, you’ll see two packing containers: one that claims “get a ride” and the opposite that claims “order food.” Uber is merging its meals supply service Uber Eats into its foremost ride-hailing app.
“What we do see is that the users who use our app both for riding and eating are our most satisfied customers,” Khosrowshahi stated. “We have more touchpoints with them than anyone else, and our relationship becomes closer.”
There is the opportunity of including different providers sooner or later, whether or not it’s grocery supply or one thing else.
Uber is introducing a brand new four-digit PIN verification system to verify riders don’t get into the mistaken car. If you decide in, you’ll must say the PIN out loud to your driver earlier than she or he can begin the trip.
Uber can also be growing a brand new know-how that makes use of ultrasound waves to robotically confirm you’re in the correct automotive, no PIN wanted. The rider’s cellphone will ship this ultrasonic sign to the driving force’s cellphone to robotically confirm the distinctive PIN. That know-how needs to be able to roll out in just a few months, in response to Sachin Kansal, head of security product for Uber.
A brand new “on-trip reporting” characteristic will enable riders to report security incidents — inappropriate habits, an extended cease, or an out-of-the-way route — throughout the trip, versus having to attend till the trip is accomplished. Uber says its security group will comply with up after the journey.
Last yr, Uber added a panic button to dial 911 from the app. Now, it can additionally allow you to textual content 911 in cities and counties that assist this know-how. Uber will robotically embody the make, mannequin, license plate quantity, and placement of the car within the textual content.
Uber is updating the “Real-Time ID Check” it launched in 2016, during which drivers take selfies to confirm their id. Now, drivers must transfer their head round, blink, and smile to offer one other layer of safety.
Lastly, the app will now ship a push notification to your cellphone if you happen to get dropped off close to a motorbike lane, so that you don’t by accident hit somebody with the door.
The new security merchandise come amid severe allegations in opposition to Uber concerning its slack, risk-averse method to rider security. Uber’s particular investigations group, which fields complaints from riders and drivers, isn’t allowed to escalate these points to regulation enforcement or file official police experiences “even when they get confessions of felonies,” according to The Washington Post. They are additionally not allowed to advise victims or potential victims of crimes to hunt authorized counsel.
Stories like these can result in a lack of belief amongst riders, one thing Uber could be very conscious of. “We don’t think trust can be won with one thing,” Kansal instructed The Verge. “I think the way we want to win trust is by showing commitment, and that’s going to be long term.”
Did you hear? Uber loves buses and trains now! Yeah, certain. Uber has stated it desires to compete with public transportation. It made that clear in its S-1 submitting to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, however it later edited it out. Now, Uber says it desires to enrich, not kill, public transportation, and it’s including real-time scheduling and planning to its app to show it.
Uber’s new transit characteristic is stay in Denver and London, and at the moment, the corporate is asserting just a few extra cities, together with San Francisco, Mexico City, and Paris. New York City is coming later this yr together with six different at present unnamed cities. To begin out, it can simply be scheduling and fare data, however Uber hopes so as to add ticketing (prefer it does in Denver) within the close to future.
When you plug in your vacation spot, if there’s a subway or bus that can get you there, it can seem on the high of the listing. And it can most likely be the most cost effective choice. “To some extent, we’re competing against ourselves,” Khosrowshahi stated. “But we have the philosophy that if there’s a better product out there for the user, and we think an integrated movement solution is better for the user, we should be the ones competing against ourselves versus others doing it.”
Uber’s electrical bikes and scooters are getting a lift, too. Starting subsequent month, Uber will start exhibiting bikes and scooters on the map, each its Jump bikes and scooters and rival Lime’s scooters as nicely. The firm will make this modification within the 28 cities the place its two-wheeled choices can be found, plus a dozen US cities the place Lime scooters can be found through the Uber app.
Uber can also be tackling the issue of depleted batteries by constructing a community of Jump charging kiosks, which is able to enable riders to swap out a depleted battery for a contemporary one, on the go. Those kiosks will begin to seem in choose cities later this yr.
“We’re making a very big bet on e-bikes,” Khosrowshahi stated. “They make you feel like Superman when you’re on these things.”
In addition to merging its Uber Eats app instantly into its foremost app, Uber can also be doubling down on its meals supply enterprise. It’s rolling out a brand new rewards program for frequent meals supply prospects, during which they’ll earn redeemable factors each time they take an Uber trip or get Uber Eats.
Uber can also be asserting allergy-friendly filters for Uber Eats, so folks with allergy symptoms or dietary restrictions can remember to keep away from sure meals of their order. Now, when selecting a dish, you may talk your allergy or dietary restriction to eating places by means of the app. Lastly, Uber is partnering with celeb chef Rachael Ray to launch a brand new, “virtual restaurant” that can solely be out there on Uber Eats. But Ray’s meals will solely be out there in 10 cities for 10 weeks.
Uber is updating its app for drivers to incorporate an “earnings estimator” to assist drivers higher preserve observe of their cash. Uber says it desires to offer drivers extra data to allow them to higher perceive what they’ll moderately anticipate to earn — even earlier than they take their first journey.
Uber can also be including a “demand heat map,” which highlights areas the place extra riders are requesting journeys, and higher predictions of when drivers can anticipate a visit request. And for drivers who get irritated about dropping off a passenger in areas the place there may be much less demand, Uber is rolling out a “Back to Busy Area” filter. If a driver completes a visit in a quiet space, they’ll flip this on to assist filter journey requests again within the path of their selection.
Whew! That’s plenty of stuff. Peter Deng, Uber’s head of rider product, stated that the brand new app “becomes the canvas” as Uber seeks to develop its enterprise into new companies and contours of income. That means rewards applications, subscriptions, and different perks are going to be entrance and middle in Uber’s app sooner or later.
“We can help save you money,” Deng stated. “And we can help remove this paradox of choice of, ‘What do I do next?’”