Editorials

Uber Plans to Upgrade its App into a Content Marketplace

Right now, the Uber app is pretty straightforward.  You book a ride which will then take you from point A to point B.  While that alone is a big help in Metro Manila where finding a ride home can be a nightmare, the app developers are planning an upgrade that will turn it into a content marketplace.  That means that the app users will have access to entertainment developed by 3rd party content partners while they ride.  As we have all experienced, rides within the Metro can literally last for hours.

So what kind of content can we expect from Uber come April when they are planning to launch the upgrade?  More than just ordering rides and rating drivers, Uber riders will have access to information about the area where he or she is headed, entertainment which can be a relief during rush hours, and work and productivity integrations among other things.

In order to encourage 3rd party developers to partner with Uber, there will be no charge – initially at least.  Uber is also planning to ban advertising from the feed for the benefit of the users.  It will look much like a carousel app where the services and platforms can be “discovered” by the riders.  Uber is also pushing for contextual engagement.  For instance, Snapchat users will be able to unlock special stickers or filters exclusive to their destination.  One thing is certain, Uber is expanding its purpose to more than just providing basic transportation.

Uber is expecting a good number of developers to join their cause because they have a captive audience.  To date, uber has completed over 2.5 billion rides with 10 million rides each day across over 70 countries and 400 cities where Uber is available.

This new Uber upgrade is an expansion of Trip Experiences that was first launched in January of 2016.  To help riders fill their dead time in the car, they were given access to news from Washington Post and they have the option of searching for cafes and destinations nearby.  In November of last year, they expanded  the feature by allowing riders to browse Yelp and Foursquare, stream Pandora songs and order UberEATS to arrive at the same time as they do.  Come April, they will be expanding the content of the app, making it more relevant to the users.

Uber has always described itself as a technological company and not just a transportation company.  This new development underscores that.  If Uber has its way, this upgrade will make the app even more useful to the everyday life of each of its users.

Lea Cruz

A hardcore Star Wars fan, we’ve been calling Lea the Philippines’ Princess of Tech. She serves as the Lifestyle Editor at Unbox and the host for some of our YouTube videos.

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