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uber

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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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Uber is testing the option to delay your ride for a lower fare

During times when a lot of people are requesting rides, Uber prices go up. It makes sense: higher fares incentivize drivers to be available to give rides during high-traffic times, which keeps customers happy. If you have more time than money, though, you'll probably be pleased to hear that the ridesharing company is testing an option to call a car for later at a lower cost.

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You can no longer book Uber rides inside Google Maps

Google has removed the ability to book an Uber ride from inside Google Maps. You can still look up the route in Maps and then “request the ride from the Uber app,” Google suggests, but it has removed direct Uber booking without providing a reason.

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Uber now has a panic button in the US

Safety is a major concern of ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft. In an attempt to make its riders feel more secure, Uber has added a direct method to call 911 via its app in the US. The company has tested the function out in India, but it's now live for everyone stateside. Additionally, these 911 calls will come with location tracking in select markets. These are both part of new Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi's initiative to improve the company's safety record.

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Uber rentals to combine comfort of being in stranger's car, joy of finding parking

Residents of San Francisco will soon see something new in the Uber app: the option to rent a car. Uber Rent will allow users to rent nearby cars from established car sharing service Getaround right from the Uber app, the companies announced today in a press release.

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Actions on Google adds 7 new languages, deeper Android app integration, geolocation, and cuts down on introductions

Actions on Google, the developer backbone behind third-party Google Assistant integrations, is getting more and more capable with time. Last time we saw it get updated, it learned new languages, got better discoverability for the apps, and added notifications, a personalized experience, and more. With this new update, there's even more in tow, so let's get started.

First, in conjunction with the news that Assistant is adding 30 new languages, 7 of which are launching soon, developers can now create actions in these same languages: Danish, Dutch, Hindi, Indonesian, Norwegian, Swedish, and Thai. Along with the 9 existing languages, this makes the total 16, but Google knows that the mere fact that a language is supported isn't enough to get all the developers on board.

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