According to an app researcher Jane Manchun Wong with a history of impressive scoops that come from her constant reverse-engineering of popular mobile apps, it seems that Uber may be testing a feature that would represent a significant change to the ride-sharing business.
Uber is apparently testing a feature that would let you add drivers you particularly enjoyed riding with to a list of ‘favorites,’ presumably so that you would be able to ride with them again.
That’s according to a tweet from Wong that also includes a screenshot purporting to show this addition to the app, which of course Uber has not yet made any official mention of. We should include the normal caveat that, again, this is a feature that appears to be in the testing phase right now and might not ever see the light of day, though Wong also has a long track record of finding and publicizing features to apps sometimes months before the first official word about them is ever released:
As you can see from that screenshot, it seems the ‘favorite’ option comes on the screen that also lets you assign a star rating to a driver after your ride.
Surely, this feature would not be as straightforward as letting you constantly re-ride with drivers you add to your favorites list, which could encourage stalker-like behavior. Done right, however, it’s easy to see how this kind of feature could generate more usage for the app, whose drivers already unofficially venture into territory like this anyway. For example, making off-app arrangements with an Uber driver is not that uncommon.
This comes as Uber has made other prominent changes to the user experience lately, such as the launch of “Quiet Mode.” As we told you about earlier this month, Uber Black and Uber Black SUV riders now have the ability to request a quiet ride, meaning they will be able to enjoy their trip in silence without any probing questions from chatty drivers.
Also on Wednesday, Uber announced that it will start deactivating riders from its platform when the rating that drivers assign to them falls below a certain threshold. In a company blog post, Uber explained this will happen once a rider reaches a “significantly below average rating” and is expected to only impact a small number of riders.
“Riders will receive tips on how to improve their ratings, such as encouraging polite behavior, avoiding leaving trash in the vehicle and avoiding requests for drivers to exceed the speed limit,” the post continues. “Riders will have several opportunities to improve their rating prior to losing access to the Uber apps.”