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Uber gets social, with new transportation option in Facebook Messenger

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Uber is going social, with a new transportation update to the popular Facebook Messenger app.

In an effort to provide safe, affordable and reliable transportation, the San Francisco-based ridesharing service is partnering with Facebook to allow users in select cities to call for a ride without leaving Messenger.

With the touch of a button, Uber has made it even easier to bring people together, both online and in person.

In the latest version of Messenger, Facebook users get the option to tap the “more” menu in a conversation, and then choose “transportation.” They can also search directly for Uber, then tap the car icon to call for a ride. Messenger can send status updates, track the Uber ride, deliver receipts in a private conversation, and let friends know (in real-time) that the ride is on its way.

“We’re just getting people used to the idea that you can message more than just people on Messenger,” said Facebook product manager Seth Rosenberg in an interview with Tech Crunch.

New Uber customers can sign up for an account within Messenger, with the first ride through the app free up to $20. Current Uber customers can connect an existing account, and request rides during any conversation. Messenger’s new feature gives Facebook users a chance to call, view, and pay for Uber rides, making getting a ride to and from get-togethers, holiday parties and more as easy as sending a message.

The move represents a winning strategy for both Uber and Facebook, two major technology brands, with the ability to cross promote to a wider consumer base.

Uber on Messenger begins its select rollout in the United States this weekend, with more markets added in the near future.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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