We announced yesterday the new alliance between Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) and Uber Technologies Inc, the American international transportation company. Starting Wednesday, December 16th, Facebook Messenger users living in U.S. cities where Uber is available, will have access to a ride arrangement just by touching an address into the messenger app.

The functionalities are still being tested and just a handful of people will be able to use them immediately, but the social media app will soon release them for the public. The first transportation network on Facebook Messenger claims 75 percent of the U.S. population lives in a county where Uber is available.

Facebook says the two companies want to facilitate transportation arrangements for friends who are texting to each other without having to leave Messenger. They’ll have two options to do that: either they tap on “transportation from the…” menu or on the address shared by a friend on the app by selecting “request ride.” Moreover, a friend will receive a notification when the other requests a ride from that thread –the same applies to group chats–.

The future of messenger apps: integration

The alliance with Uber Technologies announced by Facebook is just the beginning of a new tendency that will make messenger apps more helpful than ever with the integration of features that would help users save time in their daily activities. Technology lovers affirm smartphones are developed to make our lives easier and more practical. Apps like Wechat already permit users order food, buy houses and make doctor appointments.

Previously, users had to open Uber app to request a ride after their friends sent them directions, now they just have to touch one single time over the address and a taxi will be on its way to transport them.

If we start from the point that Facebook has over 217  million monthly active users in the United States and Canada and if we consider that 75 percent of the U.S population lives in a county where Uber is available, a huge combination of usefulness and practicality comes to our mind.

It is known that Uber had previously made agreements with other companies such as Starbucks and United Airlines. The official app of the number one coffee maker in the nation offers its users to request a ride to their stores just by click an Uber button that launches them to the Uber app.

On the other hand, United Airlines app offers a similar function on its iOS and Android apps, but this time users can select the type of Uber vehicles available and they can see wait time and prices in their current location directly from the app, after they request the ride they are directed to Uber official app to make the payment and the taxi will be on its way in just a few minutes.

“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 everyday business interactions more productive.” Seth Rosenberg, Product Manager at Facebook wrote in a statement.

The best example of a software that offers a set of services integrated to their messenger app is WeChat. The giant from china already has more than 600 million users in its origin country, an interesting thing is that about 50 percent of them open the app at least 10 times a day.

Some technology experts said that Facebook was inspired by WeChat. The new transportation features they announced have been working in the Chinese market since 2014 alongside WeChat and Didi Dache, the equivalent of Uber in China. According to Tech In Asia an average of 700,000 bookings is made everyday via WeChat.

“To give you a rough idea of what the social and advertising landscape looks like in China, it has over 600 million users and its closest competition would be more around 200 million users,” said Thomas Graziani, co-founder of Chinese agency WalktheChat, which specializes in WeChat marketing.

There are several other features that are integrated into WeChat app. Users in China are allowed to pay their utility bills using the app since the company allied with Shanghai Fufeiton Information Technology, a web service that manages more than 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion)  a year in payments.

Wechat is making up its way among the most famous messaging apps. Photo: Forbes.
Wechat is making up its way among the most famous messaging apps. Photo: Forbes.

Users can also order food from anywhere using the same app since the company allied with OrderIn, a popular online food ordering service. The app can helps customers from China to buy homes in the United States and they can also make doctor appointments. That being said, they can check in for flights, post to social media, buy clothes and movie tickets and send money to their friends. All from one single app, WeChat. It seems that the future of messaging apps is going to an all-in-one path.

Source: Facebook Newsroom