Facebook and Uber launch a new partnership

22 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Messenger lets users call Uber cars in US, more countries to be added.

FACEBOOK on Wednesday announced an alliance with Uber that lets people summon cars from the ride sharing service using the Messenger smartphone application.Facebook Inc said it is testing a service that will allow users of its app to hail rides directly from the app, without leaving a conversation or downloading the ride-hailing app.

The tie-up gives Uber access to millions of potential new users and marks the first time that Messenger – for which Facebook has ambitions ranging from retail to concierge services – has ventured into transport. The partnership was a major move for both California firms, further expanding Facebook’s stand-alone messaging service beyond simply communicating and putting Uber in a social network-backed application with some 700 million users. “With this new feature, you can request a ride from a car service without ever needing to download an extra app or leave a conversation,” product manager Seth Rosenberg said in a blog post. Uber is the biggest ride-hailing company in the world in terms of funding, with about $12 billion (€11 billion) raised so far – even as lawsuits relating to its treatment of drivers and compliance with local laws work their way through courts in many countries. Uber was described as the first partner in the launch of “transportation on Messenger,” leaving the door open to add Uber rivals as options for users of the smartphone messaging service.

Facebook has been aggressively working to boost the appeal of its Messenger service, including making it mandatory last year for users to install a separate app to send and receive messages. The San Francisco-based company’s Facebook Messenger service, initially released in 10 cities on Wednesday, will be rolled out across the US before Christmas, with the goal of expanding internationally next year.

WASHINGTON — A big jump in apartment construction in the US Midwest and South boosted the pace of homebuilding in November, marking a solid bounce back after tumbling in October. 5. Still, the Internet giant is playing catch up with Chinese Internet company Tencent Holdings Ltd’s messaging app WeChat, which has offered similar services much earlier.

LONDON — Donald Trump has denounced the Scottish government as “foolish, small minded and parochial” after the US Republican presidential front runner lost a long-running legal battle. 6. MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin has ordered his government to suspend Russia’s free trade zone with Ukraine from January 1, as Kiev seeks closer ties with the European Union. 7. People can access the feature by tapping a “transportation” menu tab during text message exchanges or can enter Uber as a search query, according to Facebook.

BERLIN — Volkswagen will suspend production at its small showcase factory in the German city of Dresden next year as the carmaker alters its model strategy to cut costs in the wake of the emissions test scandal. 8. Facebook earlier this year began testing a Messenger app virtual assistant that the leading social network said goes beyond artificial intelligence programs already on the market. JOHANNESBURG — Thousands of marchers have demanded President Jacob Zuma step down in rallies across South Africa, blaming him for a week of financial turmoil triggered by his sacking of the finance minister. 9. UberRUSH launch in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco in October with a mission to “get customers pretty much anything in minutes,” according to a post at the company’s website.

TOKYO — Japan’s ruling coalition has endorsed an $US8 billion ($A11.13 billion) exemption in a planned sales tax hike, a move widely seen as a bid to lure voters in upper house polls next year. With a valuation that has reportedly climbed to US$64 billion (RM276 billion) based on private funding rounds, Uber has become the most precious Internet industry “unicorn,” a reference to startups that remain private despite being valued at more than a billion dollars.

Uber’s ridesharing service has made it one of the world’s largest startups, operating in dozens of countries, but has faced regulatory hurdles in many areas and protests from established taxi operators.

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