Updated 13:35 PM PHT Fri, November 11, 2016
Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — “Where to?” the new Uber app asks upon opening. It was only nine months ago when Uber underwent a radical facelift — a geometric design system in striking colors that heralded the company’s impressive growth. But it has been four years since the actual interface was overhauled, and this time, the thoughtful recalibration homes in on the things that its users care most about.
Gone is the pattern animation that takes forever when you load the app. The app knows that you opened it because you’re going somewhere important, and respects how precious time is in an increasingly fast-paced digital era. Uber recognizes that users are traveling not just from one point to another but attending meetings, dinners, or just simply hanging out with friends. The big rider app redesign addresses the utility of having to do less so you can do more.
The new Uber app learns from the user’s routine: where they go to during the time of day and which places they frequently visit. Aside from the “home” and “work” buttons, a “shortcut” is available to places you might want to visit at a certain time of day, locations based on your previous destinations via Uber — perhaps the gym after work, or a coffee shop for your morning pick me up.
Soon, Uber will also let users sync their contacts and calendars, hence the “People are the new places” feature. This will let users type in the name of the person they’re meeting with, and once the other party has confirmed (via a notification on their app, so that means they also need to be online), they will be the trip’s location.
You’ll also notice the new look of the cars available around the area. Once sleek black sedans, they look more like white BMW i8s. The sliding bar is also gone and is replaced with an easier-to-navigate bar that shows “economy” (such as uberX, Pool, and Hop) and “premium” (uberBlack) options with arrival times and fixed prices — and even the vehicle’s photo (for those who have a hard time figuring out what a Mirage or a Picanto looks like) already on display. Payment methods can now also be changed during the ride.
Forthcoming features will also include a Snapchat and Spotify in-app integration so passengers can hack into the driver’s entertainment system and play the songs they want. Which means no more Papa Jack — if they prefer — during the car ride home.
The new update is coming in trickles, with only .01 percent of all users so far experiencing the new features. Uber is rolling out the update gradually to all users until early December this year.
Visit uber.com to get early access and read more details on the update.