Facebook has announced that their US users of Facebook Messenger can now sign up for the car-hailing service Uber and request a ride, all without leaving a conversation or downloading the Uber app.
The new feature for Messenger, with more than 700 million users globally, will allow its users to tap on a street address in a message and call for a ride. After booking, the app will let Uber customers easily share their estimated arrival times or coordinate splitting the fare with friends through Messenger. The feature is estimated to be made available in other countries outside the U.S. later.
If you’re in a chat and someone sends an address, you can just tap on that address and put in your request for a ride with Uber.
By layering additional services on top of Messenger, Facebook seems to be looking for the way of messaging that is WeChat in China. In China, WeChat is basically a message based chat service, but it really works more like an Everything App for its more than half a billion users. In China, consumers use WeChat to accomplish everything from booking a train ticket to getting their laundry done to, yes, ordering a car (likely from DidiKuaidi, the biggest competitor to Uber in the country).
In China, WeChat is the front door to the Internet—as well as all Internet-based services that bleed into real life. Facebook is also trying to catch the same track using Messenger in the US.
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