Uber has unveiled the biggest overhaul of its app in years bringing a slew of new features that focus on efficiency, speed and improving the user experience. Although the popular ride-hailing service has continued to roll out regular updates for its mobile app, the latest changes introduced on Wednesday (2 October) are the company's most significant ones yet since 2012 when it last redesigned its app.
"This is more than a normal app update," Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said at a press briefing on Tuesday, Forbes reports. "We decided earlier this year to do a full rewrite of the app."
Since Uber's last redesign in 2012, senior product manager Yuhki Yamashita says the app has become more "complicated and harder to navigate." The new Uber experience, he adds, focuses around one simple question — "Where to?"
"To recapture the clean aesthetic of the original Uber experience — without sacrificing the choice our riders now expect — we rebuilt a faster, smarter rider app completely from the ground up," Yamashita wrote in a blog post. "We designed the new Uber app around you — and our core beliefs that time is a luxury and that the information you need should always be at your fingertips."
Some of the changes in the overhaul include allowing users to connect their calendars to Uber so that the company can fill in a rider's destination for an upcoming meeting or appointment. Users will also be able to sync their contacts with the app as well. People can then type a friend's name into the search bar instead of an address. Once they share their exact location, you can then head over to wherever your friend is at the moment.
Sporting a new, cleaner map design and faster load time, the app now has a "Where to?" search bar to plug in your destination as well as three shortcut buttons to predict your next possible destination — home, work or your next calendar appointment address. Once you select your destination, your ride options will appear in pairs on the bottom of the app for users to swipe left or right along with a cost estimate and an ETA.
Uber has also teamed up with Yelp, Foursquare, Snapchat and Pandora to introduce a new "Uber feed" feature providing users with a range of information to scroll through while heading to their next destination. Through the feed, users can check out Yelp recommendations for their destination, order takeout on their way home via UberEats and send out custom Snapchat geofilters to show their current ETA from within the app. The company said it plans to announce more partners soon as well.
The company said it has been working on the major redesign since the beginning of the year. In February, the company released a brand new logo replacing its iconic "U" with a geometric design above a teal background with a swirl of blue lines that caused an uproar online. Uber has now gone back to using an icon with black background and white logo.
In June, the company introduced multiple new features to appease its drivers including a late-rider fee system to charge tardy customers a penalty fee if they keep their driver waiting for more than two minutes.
Uber's latest changes will be rolled out globally on iOS and Android over the next several weeks.
"So many apps we use... they're in the business of actually taking a little slice of time away from you and selling that time and selling that attention, Kalanick said, Business Insider reports. "Uber has a more unique business model in that our job is to give time back. We want to take the most valuable resource that we have and give it back to people."