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uber

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Uber Black is introducing an option to tell your driver you don't want to talk

Hailing a ride from a TNC app is usually easy. What's harder is managing what happens between the time the car pulls up to the curb and when you shut (don't slam!) the door. Depending on your tendencies and the driver's, there can be a lot going of yapping on between point A and point B, not to mention the detours and the literal baggage that get in the way. Well, if you happen to shell out for an Uber Black ride, you now have more ways to control how your ride goes with the tap of the app — that includes being able to snag a silent ride.

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Uber acquires Middle Eastern rival Careem for $3.1 billion

Since Uber launched its ride-hailing app in 2009, competitors like Lyft, Ola, and Didi, have been mushrooming across the world. Some of them have focused on a more regional approach, taking local cultures into account when designing their product. Careem is one of these, as the company founded in 2012 has worked on adapting its offering to the local customs, such as letting people pay by cash in countries where credit card usage isn't widespread. With a name meaning "generous and humble" in Arabic and services in line with people's way of living, Careem managed to become very popular across the Middle East.

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Uber Rewards loyalty program rolls out to all US riders

Uber Rewards was announced in November last year. The program grants points to Uber users for hailing rides or ordering food through Uber Eats, with perks increasing for higher dollar amounts spent. The program started rolling out in January, and Uber has announced that it's now available to all riders in the United States.

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Uber rolls out UI changes in latest beta app

Things may look different the next time you open the Uber app. The latest version (build number 4.249.10002) revamps a few bits of the UI to take advantage of taller screen ratios, and it makes scheduling easier. It's only accessible in the official beta channel, though.

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Uber's new Ride Pass offers discounted fares in select cities from $15/month

Uber and Lyft, America's two ride-sharing giants, are always going toe-to-toe in terms of new features and functionality. The latest move comes from Uber, which has just introduced something called Ride Pass to five major cities: Austin, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, and Orlando. Ride Pass costs $14.99/month (but $24.99/month in LA) and nets subscribers flat discounted rates on their Uber and UberX trip fares.

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Google Assistant can now help book rides from Uber, Lyft, and others

Chances are, you've paid more than you needed to for a ride because you didn't feel like manually comparing the rates of all your options. Today, Google announced it's got a way to ameliorate such situations: the Google Assistant will soon be able to provide you a handy list of ride providers going to your destination, along with time estimates and pricing information.

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Uber and Uber Eats apps updated with new branding

Uber hired former Coca-Cola exec Rebecca Messina as its first chief marketing officer two days ago, and she's joining just in time for the announcement a complete rebrand. The Uber and Uber Eats apps have been updated with new logos that use a proprietary new typeface called 'Uber Move.'

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Venmo can now be used to pay for Uber and Uber Eats

Back in July, Uber announced that Venmo, PayPal's strange mobile payment service/social media feed combo, would be added as a payment method "in the coming weeks." It's been about seven weeks since then, and Venmo support has just gone live for both Uber and Uber Eats.

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Uber update adds features to make pickups less annoying

Sometimes, the hardest part of getting where you need to go with a ride-sharing service is meeting up with your driver. The Uber app is adding a number of handy features to make pickups easier. You can send glanceable messages, create a color-coded signpost, and more.

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[Update: APK download] Uber is piloting a Lite version of its rider app in India

Scaled down versions of apps are nothing new; Google has made plenty of "Go" apps specifically for emerging markets where internet connections are unreliable, phones are generally less capable, and plans offer less data. Uber is now getting in on the act, too.

Uber Lite has been built with India in mind — where it's currently being piloted — but it will be coming to other regions around the world later on. It's been designed to save space, weighing in at only 5MB (or about three selfies as Uber helpfully points out), and run on any Android phone. Even when on a network with poor connectivity, a response time of just 300ms is touted, so you should be able to book a ride almost immediately.

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