Uber has some late 2016 feature additions it’s unveiling Wednesday, including a way to hail a ride directly to people in your contacts list, and a new Snapchat team-up that opens access to custom filters during your Uber ride.
The new location feature lets you request a one-time static location share from your contacts, which the app will then automatically set as your destination and use to set the route for your driver. To do this, there is a trade-off – the Uber app will request access to your book, but if you’ve ever used the fare-splitting feature or even referred a friend using your referral code you’ve already granted the app that access anyway.
This new direct-location routing feature will also automatically share your trip ETA with the person you’re traveling to. If you’ve ever used the ETA sharing feature that’s in the app currently, you know what this looks like – the person you’re traveling to meet will get a text with your estimated arrival time, and a link to a live, updating map.
It’s a pretty convenient way to skip the usual rigmarole involved in figuring out how to meet up with somebody when they’re not at a standard place like home or and easy-to-find bar or restaurant. Plus it moves Uber ever closer to that level of frictionlessness where it becomes almost a system-level service for your phone.
Uber’s new Snapchat integration allows for custom filters for users during their rides, which work like the ones you’d get from attending certain events or visiting specific locations, but with any Uber ride. The new filters =m which include ETA and other options, can be accessed via a Snap card that shows up in Uber’s new in-app feed.
Snapchat in the feed is a great example of what Uber could do with its new consumer-facing app’s platform potential. The company has also recently used this space to run a promotion in partnership with Disney for the new Rogue One Star Wars film, and it also provides a place for them to highlight UberEATS in markets where that service is available. Mining this new resource for future app and service partnerships seems like a natural fit.