Android Police

Uber

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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 app updated with new features to help you through the holiday season

The Uber app is pretty convenient already, but there's always room for improvement. Earlier in the year, the ability to message your driver via in-app chat was added, and now Uber has a few more enhancements that it hopes will help ease the stress during the festive season.

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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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