Facebook and Uber team up to offer Messenger users taxi trips
Uber users can now book taxis via Facebook Messenger after the two digital giants teamed up.
The social network revealed on Wednesday that it has launched a Transportation option on its messaging service. This will allow people to hail a cab from Uber without them having to download and use the taxi-hailing app's own site.
The two companies hope their users will use the feature when making plans with friends.
"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. It’s super easy and doesn’t take you away from the plans that you’re making with your friends or family," Facebook said.
"Whether you’re meeting friends for lunch, on your way to a concert, or running late for work, Messenger and our partners can get you to your destination faster."
Uber will also provide updates on waiting times via Messenger.
"Driver status updates and payment receipts will get delivered to a private conversation between you and Uber. With everything in one place, you can seamlessly keep track of your ride and payment history," Facebook said.
With more than 1.4 billion people using Facebook every month, the deal could unlock a huge revenue stream for both firms.
Uber's last funding round valued the private company at $50bn, and linking up with the world's largest social network could also make it more socially acceptable.
Uber has faced a barrage of criticism and protests from rival drivers, who claim the service is uncompetitive.
The company is facing questions over its future in London after Transport for London proposed new restrictions on minicab services.
In particular, the restrictions suggest "controls on ridesharing in public vehicles" which would block UberPool - its service that provides rides for much cheaper by allowing passengers to share journeys - in the capital.completely.
The ride-sharing service already runs in cities including Paris, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Boston, with Indian city Bengaluru being the most recent addition to the list.
Facebook said its Uber service is "currently in testing" and will only be available in areas where Uber already operates in the US.
However, "more countries and other transportation partners will be available soon".