Sep 30, 2019

Uber testing feature that lets "uncomfortable" passengers tape ride

Photo: Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Uber is testing out a feature that will let uncomfortable riders audio record their trips and send it to the company, according to Jane Manchun Wong, a developer known for reverse engineering apps to find unreleased features.

Why it matters: The rideshare company has been criticized for the safety of its app and for its handling of violence, sexual harassment and assault during rides.

  • Earlier this year, a University of South Carolina student was killed after entering a car she mistook for an Uber.
  • In 2018, an Uber driver shot and killed a passenger in Denver.
  • Also that year, two women filed suit against the company over allegations that lax vetting practices had led riders to a number of dangerous situations.

The big picture: The company has recently rolled out a number new safety features in an effort to quell concerns. These include a feature that allow users to send text messages to 911 dispatchers from within the app and an option for riders to verify their driver's identity with a unique pin.

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Uber sets up "Uber Money" division focused on financial services

Photo: Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images

Uber has set up a new division, Uber Money, that will house its financial services products for riders and drivers, such as digital wallets and debit and credit cards.

Why it matters: While Uber and rival Lyft have already provided some standalone services like letting drivers cash out their earnings instantly and a credit card for riders, other ride-hailing companies around the world, like Grab and Gojek, have long offered fuller suites of services.

Go deeper: Uber rides into grocery delivery

Keep ReadingArrowOct 28, 2019

Uber lays off 350 employees in third round of cuts

Photo: Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images

Uber's ongoing layoffs continued Monday, with the company announcing cuts of about 350 employees across multiple units, including food delivery service Eats and its autonomous driving unit ATG, TechCrunch first reported and Uber confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: This is the 3rd wave of layoffs in recent months at the company, which has been trying to cut costs and show investors a clearer path to eventual profitability. Uber's stock price, which is still not back to IPO levels, went up 4% on the news.

Keep ReadingArrowOct 14, 2019

Catching up with Waze's carpool app

Photo Illustration: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Waze is best known for its navigation app, which crowdsources traffic information, but a few years ago it ventured into a new line of business when it rolled out a carpooling app. Today, the Google-owned company says its U.S. carpool users complete more than 550,000 rides per month, and will reach the 1 million mark by the end of the year.

What they're saying: "We’re not taking on Uber and Lyft," Waze co-founder and CEO Noam Bardin tells Axios. "We're focused on commutes 20 miles and up." Waze drivers also can't earn money beyond the cost of driving (per IRS guidance of $0.58 per mile).

Go deeperArrowOct 11, 2019