Facebook Messenger users who want to summon an Uber driver without leaving the comfort of their app will now be able to, thanks to Uber's crusade to integrate with every app in existence.
The newest version of Messenger has been updated to include an Uber button, so users can hail a ride and track their driver's progress from within Facebook's app. Users can also pay for the ride and communicate with their driver, all within Messenger. The integration is powered by Uber's API, which the company is making available to app developers worldwide through its Strategic Partnerships initiative.
The road to ubiquity is paved with API integration
Uber is listed under the "transportation" category in Messenger, which can be selected through the "more" menu in a Messenger conversation. Even users who have never used Uber before can sign up without leaving Messenger; Uber says it will pick up the tab for those users' first ride, up to $20.
Earlier this month, Uber simplified the process for app developers to add an "intent to ride" button to their products. It's an intriguing strategy, both in terms of growing the company's customer base as well as expanding its branding opportunities. (Some products, like Google Maps, have included Uber integration for some time.)
It's also interesting that Facebook is enabling Uber's integration strategy, given that Facebook is the leading contender in the race to place its brand inside other apps. Just as Facebook wants to be your front door to the internet, Uber wants to be your de facto transportation method — and the lines that divide the apps on your smartphone are getting blurrier and blurrier.