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Uber adds better location sharing, guest rides, and more in time for the holidays

Tyrone Stewart

UberUber has rolled out a series of updates for US riders ahead of the festive season, in order to reduce the stress of travelling around during the period.

The ride hailing service has introduced two features to help riders and drivers find one another at busy locations and at night. With live location sharing, drivers can see where passengers are located in relation to their pickup spot in real-time. It can be turned off and on by tapping the icon in the bottom right corner of the screen, or through privacy settings in the app. Meanwhile, Uber has expanded its beacons to New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago. Beacons are devices placed on a driver’s windshield to help riders spot their vehicle. When matched with a driver, users can choose from a selection of colours that they want to beacon to glow.

In addition to making it easier for riders and drivers to find each other, Uber is rolling out the ability for users to request a ride for a guest that doesn’t have the Uber app. Users tap ‘Where to?’ as usual, but now will be asked to choose who’s riding. The person selected will receive a text message with details such as ETA, car type, and the driver’s content info.

Finally, Uber has introduced in-app gifting, so users can provide a friend or family member with Uber credits as a gift. The feature can be accessed via the menu.