Have you ever summoned a ride on Lyft and thought, "I wish I could connect with my driver on a deeper level?" If so, get excited because Lyft Profiles is an upcoming feature to the app to allow you and your driver to get to know one another better. If that isn't such an exciting thought, well, it might not be too bad. For as questionable of an idea it may be, nobody will be forced into divulging conversation starters just to use the service.
The inspiration purportedly comes from their experience with Lyft Line, a service that is a little more like carpooling than cabbing. They claim that Line led to interesting connections, even friendships, as frequent passengers and drivers got to know one another.
Since the typical Lyft user won't be seeing the same driver or even going to the same places on all that regular of a basis, Profiles is meant to give both parties some degree of familiarity with one another. And let's be honest: anyone who has used Lyft or similar services knows that the social component of the ride can be brutally absent. Nothing beats sitting in silence in a stranger's car, right? Probably not. They are hoping this relatively unobtrusive information exchange can add a little bit of pleasantness to driver-passenger interactions, which isn't such a bad thing.
To begin with, Profiles will ask for your hometown, favorite music, and an open-ended bio in addition to a photo. These are arguably the exact sorts of things that can make for short, non-threatening conversations, so it makes sense. Driver profiles will also include their average star rating and the number of rides given. Nobody is required to provide this info, either.
Maybe the biggest negative is that Profiles will hit iOS before Android, though specific timeframes for both have not been revealed. We just know that iOS will get it "soon" and Android "soon to follow," so hopefully there will not be a big delay.
Lyft's latest update for Android adds Profiles.
Below is a look at the Profiles interface from the rider perspective after April 9th's update that brought Profiles to the Android version.
The texts you see for hometown, favorite music, and about me are auto-populated by Lyft if left blank. It isn't clear whether other users see this silly filler or not. You can also give Lyft permission to compare Facebook friends with drivers to see if you know anyone in common.
While I expect Lyft to receive some degree of criticism or ridicule for their new feature, I think it's actually fairly clever and addresses one of the negatives of their product and the entire ride-for-hire industry in general.