Facebook announced this Wednesday that they’re working closely with ride-sharing company Uber, in order to develop a service that allows Messenger users to order a ride directly from the app, without leaving the conversation or downloading the stand-alone Uber app, says Reuters.
This marks a first for Facebook, Uber being the first Transportation partner present on Messenger and, for the moment, it will be available just in select locations from the United States, where the company operates. The update for the messaging app will start rolling out in the U.S. this week.
Also, this will be just the beginning, as Facebook is planning to integrate even more services in the app in the near future, one of them being Lyft, which offers similar transportation services.
In order to hail a ride, you need to have the latest version of Messenger installed and go to the “transportation” menu of tap on a car icon within a chat window.
“Facebook is looking at this as a way to make Messenger more attractive,” said Thilo Koslowski, vice president and automotive practice leader of Gartner. This would also provide a “huge market place” for Uber, Mr. Kowlowski added.
Lately, Facebook has been looking forward to boosting the appeal of the Messenger app. Last year, they even made it mandatory, as a separate app, in order to send or receive messages on your smartphone. Also, they even added the ability to send or receive money through the app.
On the other side, they’re still behind WeChat, owned by Chinese company Tencent Holdings Ltd, which started offering these services way before Facebook did.
As for the Uber integration, it will definitely be available in more locations soon, but for the moment, Facebook hasn’t made any details about this available.