Ever since it set its foot on the Indian turf, ride-hailing service Uber has been in a slugfest with homegrown competitor Ola. But now, a new feature might help Uber to take a strong lead. With this feature, customers riding an Uber will be able to make calls to the driver without paying any charge and even keep their numbers private.
After launching it globally last year, Uber has rolled out a feature called “Uber Call,” which lets users in India make VoIP (Voice over IP) calls to cab drivers. These calls will be made over an internet connection, but, in case of limited or poor connectivity, users will also have the older option of making usual voice calls. The feature is now available for both Android and iOS devices in India.
When you receive the details of the driver after booking an Uber cab, you can hit the phone icon to initiate a free call. Here, you may see two options – the first one with the driver’s number and the second one for a “Free Call.” Once you tap on the second option, Uber will seek your permission to access the microphone before the very first call is connected.
When the call goes through, you’ll see the options to mute the call, put it on speaker, or disconnect it. The call screen will also show the name of the driver.
The feature, as Uber claims, will assure users that their mobile numbers are protected and not shared with the drivers. Likewise, the feature also ensures that the mobile numbers of the drivers remain private too.
While privacy of the rider is being billed as the primary purpose of this feature, there isn’t much known about the privacy of the connection itself. We are yet to learn about any sort of encryption protecting these conversations – as in the case of WhatsApp calls – and will update the article accordingly when we have sufficient information on this.
To be able to use the feature, make sure you’re using the latest version of the Uber app on your Android smartphone.
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