Uber users in India can now order rides even if they don’t have the app installed on their smartphone, thanks to a new feature that the company announced today. Uber also announced the launch of another service in India that lets users book rides for their friends or family. Prior to the launch of the feature, users could indirectly book a cab for others by changing their GPS settings. However, the update makes the process much more direct and easier.

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Instead of downloading the app, users can just to go to dial.uber.com to book a cab. It is likely to come handy to those who use a basic smartphone or might not even have a Google account to download apps from the Play Store. The best thing is users do not even have to create an Uber account and they just need to enter their phone number to authenticate. They can settle the payment in cash at the end of the trip. Dial an Uber is currently available in the cities of Nagpur, Kochi, Guwahati, and Jodhpur.

The “request a ride for others” in-app feature allows people to order taxis for friends or family members who don’t have smartphones or are incapable of using them. After setting the pickup location, users will be prompted to say whether the ride is for themselves or someone else. If it’s for someone else, they’ll have to enter their phone number, and the rider will receive a text message with information about their driver and car. The rider can pay in cash, or the person who ordered the car can pay for it with their credit card.

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This feature would be appreciated by many, especially when they are stuck in an area of spotty internet coverage and can’t book a cab. They will now be able to ask someone to book one for them. Uber, though, is targeting it at elders who might not have Uber accounts or even an internet connected smartphone to book a cab.

Whereas Ola, Uber’s biggest competitor in India, allowed customers to book cabs through web until June last year before it decided to morph into an app-only player across the 100 cities it operates in. What prompted Ola to turn into an app-only platform was the fact that it was getting 99% of its cab requests through its mobile app only.

 

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Ankur Chandra

A software engineer by education, Ankur is go-getter, who leaves no stones unturned to find a solution to a problem. He is passionate about technology and automobiles. And, is a big foodie at heart. Watching cartoons is his favourite off-field indulgence. At KnowStartup, he is an integral part of the editorial team.

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