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Uber announced 25+ changes to its platform on Thursday. Most significant moves include merging its ride-hailing app and food-delivery app Uber Eats, and offering users alternative travel information including bikes, scooters, public transportation, and even helicopters.
Uber is the company known as the one who first has spread on so many ways. There is a ride-hailing business, then scooter sharing and then there is a food delivery – and even though there are Asian companies copying its model, Uber is the only US company that offers these three services (for now).
On Thursday they held the launching event in San Francisco where they presented more than 25 changes to its platform among which are combining its ride-hailing app and food-delivery app Uber Eats, offering users alternative travel information including bikes, scooters, public transportation, and, yes – even helicopters (if you happen to be living in New York and have enough money that is).
Revamping of the App
One of the highlights was surely a new vision for the future of Uber’s home screen. There were actually two test versions, one of which adds an Uber Eats button to the bottom of the screen and another replaces the hallmark map with two buttons in the screen’s center (one for ride-hailing, another for Uber Eats). Both versions are already put to test.
CEO Dara Khosrowshahi explained:
“We want to be the operating system for your everyday life. A one-click gateway to everything that Uber can offer you.”
He added that the company recognizes that becoming an integral part of people’s lives comes with real responsibility.
“That’s why we are working to make sure every customer is treated like a VIP, every driver and courier feels like a valued partner, and every city feels like we’re a good citizen.”
At the event, Uber also noted it will be expanding its rewards scheme internationally and also will be offering its members alternatives on the ways of how they want to use their rewards.
Before, users would get $5 in Uber cash once they had a certain number of points and now they have more options including percentages off rides and food deliveries.
The company introduced a new PIN-based ride verification system where an additional Pin is added to the usual car and driver information so when the driver shows up, the rider tells the driver the PIN. The driver puts it in the app and the rider gets a message that the ride is verified. Perhaps now it seems a bit like an added complication, but from the company, they said that in the future, the phones will do an ultrasonic PIN handshake without the driver or riders help.
The things will change for better on the Uber Eats front as well, especially for those suffering from food allergies. Users will soon be able to find allergy-friendly restaurants in the app and use filters to make sure they don’t accidentally order something that could contain something they are allergic to.
Also, celebrity chef Rachael Ray will be launching her virtual restaurants exclusive to Uber. These delivery-only establishments will be offering the meals from her latest cookbook.
Uber will also widen its Transit feature to 15 cities and it also plans to support swappable battery packs for Uber’s Jump bikes and scooters that could be switched out at a kiosk.
Following all those news, Uber stock price rose 1% to about $32, still way down from its $42 IPO price due to a stock-wrecking earnings report in August that the company lost $5 billion.
Gartner analyst Michael Ramsey thinks Uber’s overhauled app should encourage more use but it is unlikely to cure the company’s inability to make a profit. He says Uber will be forced to put rivals such as Lyft and Lime on its platform, contending Apple or Google could launch services weaving together mobility apps, payments, passwords and more.