Facebook today announced a new feature for its messaging platform that allows users to request an Uber from within Messenger.
The idea is to make it more simple for Messenger users to hail an Uber ride without having to open the actual Uber app. The partnership is a long time coming, with Recode first reporting about the potential combination more than a year ago.
“With the ability to request, track and pay for a ride in Messenger, we’re making transportation as simple as sending a message,” wrote Facebook Product Manager Seth Rosenberg in today’s blog post.
Facebook, which is testing this feature with select users, said that similar transportation-related integrations will be rolled out in the future. TechCrunch notes Messenger will let people hail a Lyft ride as soon as next month. If and how Facebook splits revenue with these companies is unclear.
As the New York Times noted, this partnership shows how Facebook is trying to turn Messenger into a remote control for our digital lives, similar to what Tencent’s WeChat is in China. When GeekWire traveled to Shanghai and Beijing last month, we noticed that everyone seemed to be using WeChat, which not only lets people send messages to one another, but is also a social media platform and a tool that lets people buy goods, pay utility bills and, yes, hail a taxi ride.
It seems Facebook is following in WeChat’s footsteps.
“Technology can make all of our engagements with businesses better, and over the past year Messenger has added integrations with select retailers, household brands and hotels to make your most common and every day business interactions more productive,” Rosenberg wrote in today’s blog post.