With App Update, Uber Wants to Mine Your Phone to Know Where You Want to Go


Uber has launched a new rider app, rebuilt completely from the ground up for the first time, since their last redesign in 2012. Acknowledging that “our app has become complicated and harder to navigate,” the company announced that the new improved app will add useful information like expected arrival time, fare estimates, and even “shortcuts,” or suggested routes based on those you’ve frequently taken.

According to the company, with the new AI-based update, Uber will automatically learn your daily routes and suggest shortest possible ways to reach the destination. Which means, Uber will ask you to connect your calendar with the app, where it will save your frequent destinations as “shortcuts,” “saving you the hassle of digging through another app to find the right address.

The idea, Uber says is “we know that people use Uber to meet friends, whether it’s at a concert or a night out. This means your destination is often a person. But figuring out exactly where they are involves a lot of texting back and forth. We’ll soon be introducing a new feature we refer to as people are the new places that enables you to set your destination to a person instead of a place.”


The new update has raised some privacy concerns, but Uber has brushed aside such objections, saying users will have to agree to allow the app to scan their calendars and address books, giving them the option to share personal information or not.

The redesigned app will also offer features from other services that riders might enjoy during the trip. “Exploring a new neighborhood? Use Foursquare for tips on what to do and where to go next. On your way to friends? Play with exclusive Snapchat filters or stream your favorite songs on Pandora to get you in the mood. And if UberEATS is in your city, order food on the way home so you and your burrito can arrive together,” said Yuhki Yamashita, Senior Product Manager at Uber.

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