RIDE-HAILING MOBILE APP, Uber, has introduced an entirely new rider app design — something that has been a long time coming as the app’s last redesign was in 2012.

Uber app gets an upgrade

The new mobile app — which has been rolled out to “1% of the existing Uber users globally” starting Nov. 2, according to an Uber Philippines spokesperson during a media round table on Nov. 8 at Italianni’s restaurant in Makati — focuses on the question “Where To” because “you use Uber to get somewhere — or to someone.”

The new design was handled in house and de-cluttered what was once was a “complicated and hard to navigate” app, and now offers the type of ride depending on one’s budget — the rides are categorized as “Economy” (UberX and Uberpool) or “Premium” (UberBlack). The choice of ride only pops out once the rider has chosen their destination and shows the upfront fare as well as the estimated time of arrival for each option.

“We’ve built everything for speed and simplicity, so it’s easier than ever to tap and go,” said the app description on the Google Play Store.

Another difference in the new app is the faster loading time as the company shaved off “milliseconds” from the loading screen which the company calls “the Atom.”

“It’s not much, but you can really feel difference,” said the Uber PHL spokesperson.

The app also takes note of the rider behavior — “it learns,” said the company representative — as the lower portion of the app contains three floating icons which shows two of the rider’s most frequent destinations and another for the most recent destination.

By taking note of the rider’s common destination, the app, he said, learns the user’s routine and would suggest a destination according to the information collected. Now more intuitive, the app will be able to suggest different sets of destinations based on the day of the week or time of day, suggesting different destinations for weekdays or weekends.

The app also syncs with the user’s native calendar app so one can get to a destination without typing it manually.

While this might give rise to questions about privacy, the representative said that a “very select few” can access all the information in the company and that they hold their user’s privacy at the highest priority.

Another upcoming feature will be “setting people as destination” as the company figured that a lot of times, people hail Uber to get to a person who is at a certain location. The feature will connect the app to the user’s contact list and once a person is chosen, the location of the said person will be shared with the rider and that location will be the destination.

The representative also revealed that next year, the app will have a “trip feed,” making it possible to access social media apps such as Snapchat or music apps such as Spotify (for the Philippines) directly on the Uber app without the need to open a separate window.

Currently, the app is only available for 1% of the global Uber population and the company expects a complete roll-out by early December. — Zsarlene B. Chua