Uber aims to give their customers and passengers the ease of booking their ride in India as easy as sending a text message on WhatsApp. Uber is a San Francisco-based company and they have now partnered with Meta (FB) for this. On Thursday, both the tech companies said it in a statement that they will together launch a ride booking ability using WhatsApp service in India.
This collaboration of Uber and Meta will be the first time in the history that will allow people to book an Uber ride without even downloading the company’s official app. Every single thing will be managed within the WhatsApp chat interface, right from user registration, booking the ride to getting a trip receipt, everything.
This service will first be started in Lucknow, which is a North Indian city and later it will be expanded to other parts of India soon, the statement said.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for all Indians to take an Uber trip, and to do that we need to meet them on platforms they are comfortable with,” said Nandini Maheshwari, senior director of business development for Uber APAC, in the statement.
India has around half a billion WhatsApp user, which makes it the biggest market for WhatsApp.
Riders who book via Whatsapp will have access to the “same safety features and insurance protections as those who book trips via the Uber app directly,” Uber said.
Some of these capabilities include the option to communicate with the driver discreetly via a masked phone number and the opportunity to view the vehicle’s licence plate at the time of reservation.
“The Uber experience on WhatsApp is simple, familiar, and relatable for users and has the potential to accelerate adoption of Uber with a new category of riders in India,” said Abhijit Bose, the head of WhatsApp India, in the statement. The company is going to create more “customised solutions for products and services across sectors in India,” he added.
The service is currently only available in English, but it will be expanded to include Indian languages in the near future.
This isn’t the first time Uber (UBER) has tried out a large-scale initiative in India. Uber began accepting cash payments in Hyderabad in 2015, making it the first city in the world to do so – an option that was later expanded to the company’s other regions.