Uber has announced three new features for India, including ability to request ride for a guest, a new mobile version of its app and call-to-ride functionality. Uber’s Vice President and Head of Product Daniel Graf was present at the announcement, which took place in Bengaluru.
With the new features, customers in India will now be able to book rides via m.uber.com, which is a light web-based version of full fledged app. Uber says the feature has been rolled out keeping in mind connectivity issues in the country, and the fact that not everyone in the Indian market uses a smartphone. Essentially, any user with an internet enabled phone and browser, will be able to open the web page to sign into their Uber account, enter destination, and confirm ride. Users can track their ride on map as well via the website.
Uber is also testing a new “call-to-ride” functionality, and the first pilot is being run in Pune. The cab-aggregating service has identified popular zones in the city setup pickup points. Riders can simply call on the given number and enter the provided four digit code to wait for a cab at the pickup point. Users will get information of their ride via SMS. They can cancel the cab ride at any point calling from the same mobile number.
Uber is also working on an offline search feature, which will be made available in the next few weeks. Offline search essentially saves a personalised cache of top destinations for people. These destinations show up in the app even if user is offline. However, users will need an active internet connection to book cab.
Finally, Uber riders will be able to request ride for a guest, a feature that will be introduced in the next few weeks. The rider or guest for whom the ride has been booked will get an SMS with driver, car, ETA information, etc. The ride will be charged to person who has requested it. For example, someone sitting in Bengaluru can book a ride for a contact or friend in Delhi.
Disclaimer: The reporter is in Bengaluru attending the launch event at the invite of Uber India, which is paying for travel.