Over the next few weeks, Uber plans to implement a major re-design of its smartphone app to make it work faster, be easier to use, and be more transparent about costs and travel times, but a new added feature is getting a lot of conversation.
Uber Feed, according to an article on wired.com, kicks in after you have been picked up and features a set of cards at the bottom of your screen with suggestions for services you may be interested in or that you may find to be useful while killing the time on the way to your destination.
Things like finding a restaurant near your destination, or browsing through their menus as you ride along. You may also see an app that allows you to chat with a party you are planning to meet to give them an update on your estimated arrival time, or to let them know your plans have changed. The company expects other third-party apps to join in as the service moves forward.
At least the company hopes that is what you will do. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said, “Having a set of experiences and information that are catered to you while you’re in the car can make the trip better and make you more informed about your destination.”
Sounds good, but in reality, you can already do all of this, just not inside the Uber app itself. The big question is will users see not having to switch apps to find a restaurant or chat with your appointment as a worthy advantage, or will they stick with the apps they are familiar with and continue to use them?
One of the hurdles the app must surmount is do people really want to spend the ride time doing things like pouring over a menu, and, if so, how often will Uber’s suggestions be important to the riders?
Still, the suggestion cards will likely be an improvement over the map showing the progress of the trip currently on the screen. It remains to be seen if the re-design will be seen as beneficial to the service and its users.