Facebook’s mission to turn Messenger into a full-service platform just came one step closer to reality. Thanks to a new partnership with Uber, the social network will now let you order a ride directly from Messenger without leaving the app.
There are two ways to order a car service via Facebook’s popular chat app—which for now is exclusively Uber. You can either tap on an address in a chat message, prompting a menu option to request a ride to that location, or you can tap on the car icon in the “more” menu of the Messenger app. You don’t have to have the Uber app downloaded to use the service, but you do need to have an Uber account.
Payment information stored within Uber won’t automatically get shared with Messenger when you connect your account. However, if you set up your Uber payment information within Messenger, both Uber and Facebook will have access to your payment data.
Facebook said in a blog post the on-demand ride service is still in testing with select users, but will be available to a wider audience soon.
Since jettisoning Messenger into a standalone app, Facebook has made significant efforts to turn it into much more than just a way to chat with friends. It can now be used as a payments platform to send and receive money from people a la Venmo; a customer service app to message businesses and get information about shipping and products; and a part-human part-machine personal assistant that can help you get, well, whatever you want.
While experiments with other standalone Facebook apps that clone already successful ideas have failed, Messenger continues to grow with new features from apps that exist elsewhere as well. It’s becoming a one-stop shop for your mobile device. No longer will you need Uber, Square Cash, or third-party customer service apps, as long as you’re comfortable with Facebook handling it all for you.
It appears Messenger is angling to take over all the service apps you use, encouraging you to remain within Facebook’s walls.
That’s not surprising, as we already share so much of our lives with Facebook. It makes sense the company wants to manage our lives, too—bit by bit it’s sucking up our data. Cars on demand might just be the beginning. Soon, we may never have to leave Facebook—unless you want to, of course.
Illustration by Max Fleishman