The New York Times reported this week that Uber, a California start up, has created an app for smartphones that let’s people exchange money for rides through their phones. Uber released the app in 2011 as a way for customers to summon luxury town cars, but has recently launched the app to facilitate ride sharing and non-cash payments between drivers and riders.
Currently, Uber is being evaluated by the California Public Utilities Commission to determine if the company is able to ensure the public’s safety. One of the requirements is that they conduct criminal background checks on their drivers. I would assume that is only a requirement for the luxury car service as it would be nearly impossible to implement and track this in their ride-sharing app.
Even though the article does not discuss the integration of social media, it would be possible to link social media sites through the app in order to provide basic profiles to both parties. This would be very similar to the way that Rapportive from the last case study added a LinkedIn profile to email. Uber could let people get to know who they are about to ride with.
My questions for the class are:
- What information would you want to see about a potential driver or passenger before you agreed to get in a car with them?
- Would you want the information as a way to ensure your own safety or just to start conversation?