What happens when Facebook and Uber join forces?
The gas giants of the tech world are aligning. Facebook (over 1 billion users and valued at $500 billion) and Uber (a taxi company recently valued at US$50 billion) recently announced a new partnership: Transportation. This unholy alliance will integrate the ridesharing service deep inside Facebook’s Messenger app (iOS/Android) for reasons not immediately apparent.
Certainly, there is great access-to-market for Uber. The service is now being rolled out to selected users in the United States, and appears to be a method of arranging a ride without leaving the Messenger app.
Apparently, while messaging a friend, the conversation could run like this:
Mike: Hi Sarah. Keen to catch up for a drink tonight?
Sarah: Sure Mike. Actually, let’s go now if you’re keen. Shorty’s?
(The software registers his current position and confirms the destination via the conversation above. Mike hits the 'Request a ride' button within the chat page)
Mike: Done. See you there.
Sarah: See you soon!
As you can see, the integration is perfect for Uber. However, what is the benefit for Facebook?
It looks like the tradeoff for Uber might be granting Facebook access to the user’s account details. Once payment methods are held on the Facebook server, it can be used to sell all manner of products through the Facebook platform.
This service is likely to roll out next year so Canberrans, who have already fallen in love with Uber over the last two months, will find the service even more difficult to resist.