Uber and Facebook Join Forces
December 22, 2015
Facebook has evolved from a place to connect with people and share pictures to much more. Now, the social networking site offers services like sending money and video chatting with friends and family across the globe.
Recently, Facebook’s Messenger app started integrating business services. For online platforms like Zulily, Messenger is an easy way to communicate with customers. The app is used to send receipts, provide information about package delivery, and offer basic customer service. According to Facebook, “Millions of people all over the world use Messenger every month to engage with businesses because it’s simple, secure, convenient and keeps everything in one place.”
The latest business to join forces with Facebook is Uber.
Re/code reports that Uber and Facebook have been discussing this partnership since summer 2014. But just recently, Uber and Facebook officially rolled out their joint service to San Francisco, Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, and Miami. Individuals in these cities can order an Uber directly from Facebook Messenger.
The idea is that Facebook can keep more people from leaving its Messenger app and Uber can expand its scope to 700 million Messenger users. It seems to be a win/win for both companies, but is it truly a win for the customer?
If all you’re looking to do is order an Uber ride, then it is probably easier to do so through the Uber app. Just open the app and set your pick up location. To order an Uber through Facebook, you must open the app, pull up a conversation, tap the more menu, search for Uber, and finally type your request. Uber will then send you updates about your ride in a private message.
But, Facebook has one feature that Uber doesn’t. You can share your ETA and a map of your location with individuals in your Messenger group chat. However, people can only see this information if you choose to share it with them. If your friends are waiting on you, they can see exactly when you’re scheduled to arrive. This also serves as a safety tool. If you’re worried about a friend riding home by themselves, ask your friend to share their location with you to let you know they’ve made it back safely. There’s no need for those “text me when you get home” requests anymore.
More countries and more partners?
It is unclear whether or not Facebook receives a cut of Uber’s profits. However, the company said that Uber won’t be Facebook’s only transportation partner. Sources reported that Lyft will be available through Messenger as soon as January 2016.
Facebook also mentioned it plans to expand the transportation service to more countries soon.
Wired reports, “The new feature comes as Messenger moves deeper into its mission to morph from a mere messaging service into a platform on which other developers build their services.”
Facebook Messenger is gearing up to expand beyond online transactions by partnering with growing businesses like Uber. Who knows what will be next.