Ride sharing company Uber on Friday unveiled its all-new mobile Web-based version, focused on the Indian market. The company also introduced new app features that are in their pilot run, including offline search, request for a guest, and call to ride.
The new m.uber.com mobile website starts rolling out for users on Friday and essentially offers a new way to book an Uber. The company is targeting basic smartphone users with its mobile Web-based version. Uber claims that the experience of the booking a cab from an app or from the new Web-based version is "almost identical."
For booking an Uber via m.uber.com, open your mobile browser and sign into Uber account or sign up if using the service for the first time. Once signed in, enter your destination, select cab type as normally done on the app, and confirm the ride. Users on the mobile Web version will be able to track driver progress on the map, the same as the app.
Uber's Call to ride will allow riders to book a cab via a phone call. The company is currently piloting a phone number that riders can call to book an Uber across popular zones in a city. Uber is currently piloting the feature in Pune. With the new Call to ride, the company is targeting riders who use feature phones and have limitation of limited network. For booking an Uber via Call to ride feature riders will have to call on single nationwide phone number and enter a numeric code displayed on signage to help Uber identify their location. Once the ride is confirmed, the rider will also receive a text message with information on the car and driver partner. Those taking Uber via Call to ride will have to pay in cash at the end of the ride.
Uber is also targeting users in limited network areas through the new Offline search feature which will cache the top points of interest in the city. This will mean that riders can enter their destinations in the app without having to wait for the connection. Uber says that the offline search feature will work automatically if the app detects limited network. It will start rolling out in the next few weeks.
Uber is also finally bringing a much-demanded feature - 'Request for a Guest'. This will enable Uber app users to book an Uber for a friend regardless of where the user or guest are located. One of the best things about the 'Request for a Guest' is that guests don't need a smartphone or the Uber app in order to ride.
For booking an Uber for guests, the user can tap on "Where to?" as normally done and then choose who is riding above pickup location. The rider will receive trip information in an SMS text message including ETA, car type, and driver contact information. The driver will be able to see the rider's name, and be able to contact. Uber maintains that the numbers will be masked for privacy on both sides. Notably, the ride will be charged to the requestor's card on file unless the requestor selects cash as the payment of the ride. It will start rolling out in the next few weeks.