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Uber Brings In-App Chat to India, Lets Riders Talk to Drivers Without Sharing Their Phone Number

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Uber is making it easier and more convenient for drivers and riders in India to communicate with each other and check their whereabouts. The ride-hailing company said on Monday that it has begun rolling out the in-app chat feature in India, allowing the two parties to talk to each other over company’s own messaging service.

The feature, available in multiple languages, will allow a driver and the rider to talk to each other without disclosing their phone numbers, something users would have been forced to do if resorting to third party messaging apps like WhatsApp – as you can imagine, this has in the past has ignited privacy debates. Both the driver and rider will be able to see if the other person has read the message. They will also be able to share their exact location, Uber said. The company introduced this feature in several markets earlier this month.

The feature is built within the app, and appears on the main page when a rider books a cab. Uber riders and drivers would not need to leave the Uber app to talk to each other, the company said, adding that it expects the in-app feature to cut costs and be faster.

On the side-lines of the announcement, Uber said it is also introducing a new feature that would allow people to much more conveniently avail multi-destinations in the same ride. “Whether it’s a ride to the airport and the rider needs to pick up a friend en route, or going home after dinner, and need to drop off a loved one on the way, it’s easier than ever to pick up and drop off your friends or family along the way,” the company said in a press statement.

Customers can avail this feature by tapping a new “+” icon next to “where to” destination box. Tapping the “+” icon will enable them to add additional stops in the same route. The company encourages riders to ensure that they don’t take more than three minutes at any of the stops.

Both the features are being rolled out to Indians in a phased manner, so it might take sometime before you see them in your Uber app.