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uber

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Lyft drivers are getting new in-app navigation built with Google Maps

Until now, Lyft drivers have had to set up a job in the Lyft app and then switch to a different one for navigation. The annoyance of having to do that will vary depending on the phone, but it's certainly not ideal. It's impossible to talk about the ride-hailing service without comparing it to its biggest rival, Uber, which has a proprietary in-app navigation system that's seen as a big advantage.

Lyft hasn't been ignoring the situation and has just announced that its own in-app navigation system is ready to go. Rather than go to the trouble of developing a solution, however, Lyft has partnered with Google to integrate its already full-featured technology.

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You can now message your Uber driver using the new in-app chat feature

Up to now, the most annoying part of using Uber is when a passenger and driver can't find each other and need to get in touch. Or maybe you want to let your driver know a specific detail about your location ahead of their arrival. There exists the option to use each other's phone numbers for a text or call, but this will come up as an unknown number for either recipient and could go unanswered. The obvious solution to this problem has finally arrived, as Uber has developed an in-app messaging service.

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IFTTT adds an Uber channel so you can automate and trigger things based on your rides

IFTTT keeps getting more powerful with time thanks to the addition of plenty of services that normally don't talk to each other but are made to do so thanks to its applets and automations. The latest to join the fold is popular — albeit recently very controversial — ride sharing service Uber.

The Uber channel on IFTTT isn't as capable as most others since it only provides Triggers and not Actions. So you can't have your ride automatically requested or canceled based on something else happening, but what you can do is trigger another service when your ride arrives, starts, or ends, and you even have the option to specify exact locations for pickup and drop-off for the trigger to work.

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Uber finally adds tipping, but only in select cities to start

Uber is in damage control mode following a string of negative stories in the press. It's gotten so bad that CEO Travis Kalanick has stepped down. So now, Uber is launching a program to appease its drivers called "180 Days of Change." The first change is tipping, which somehow Uber hadn't added in its eight years of existence.

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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick steps down following pressure from top investors


Photo credit: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Uber has become a household name in many parts of the United States (and world) in the eight years since its birth. It's become synonymous with hailing a ride in the places I go to, and the company has even severely supplanted the cab service in my hometown. But unless you've had your head under a rock in the last several months, you should know that all is not well in the upper management at Uber. Yesterday, the CEO of the ride-sharing service, Travis Kalanick, was pressured the resign amidst strong pressure from some of the company's top investors.

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Uber links up with Transit to show upcoming train departures from your destination

Uber wants to make things easier for people who choose to do part of their journey using its taxi service and the other part with public transport. To that end, the company has announced a deal with the journey planning app Transit. It's now possible to view onward train departure times without having to leave the Uber app.

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Waymo and Lyft to team up on self-driving car technology

As the race to build the first commercially viable self-driving car hots up, a number of major players in the technology and automotive industries continue to position themselves, hoping to grab a slice of the potentially lucrative pie. This has led to a number of high-profile alliances being formed. Alphabet has its own arm dedicated to the technology in Waymo, which was spun off from Google late last year, and it has been keen to form useful partnerships where it can. The latest test vehicle is a minivan built by Chrysler, for instance. Now Waymo has a new ally in the form of ride-hailing start-up Lyft.

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You can now save custom locations in Uber (besides work and home) with Saved Places

Today Uber announced their new Saved Places feature. The name is descriptive, as it gives you the ability to store selected locations inside the app, for quick selection before travel. Now you don't need to remember or search for addresses to frequently visited places via the service. Humorously enough, Saved Places even supports Emojis in names. I expect a coming flood of people labeling work as 💩.

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Uber now suggests corner drop-offs for POOL rides (in some markets)

Most of us who use Uber or another ride-share have probably been in this situation. You're in a carpool with a ton of people, and the next person up lives down a complicated string of one-way turns. You look at the route and see you're actually closer, right now, to their drop-off point than you will be for the next few minutes of bumper-to-bumper navigation. Nonetheless, you have to sit as the car winds around to the address, wasting everyone's time. Well, now Uber will recommend nearby drop-off locations for precisely these situations. Currently the feature is only live in a few places, but I can't wait.

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Uber attempts to improve its drivers' lives by overhauling the route navigation experience

While most of us think of Uber from a passenger's point of view and using the service to get somewhere, there is another side to that coin. Drivers are, obviously, quite fundamental to the success of ride-sharing services, so it's great when changes are made to make their jobs easier. Today brings a "new navigation experience" for Uber drivers, and there are quite a few things to note.

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