Uber is launching in-app messaging for drivers and riders

Uber: A history of controversies
Uber: A history of controversies

You soon won't have to text your Uber driver from your own number.

The ride-hailing giant on Thursday said it plans to add a feature that will allow drivers and riders to send messages to each other inside the app. Currently, drivers and riders connect by texts and phone calls.

The in-app chat function will launch globally in the coming weeks.

To contact drivers when they're on their way, users can access a "chat" section. When a driver gets the message, it will be read out loud so they can focus on the road.

Related: Uber seeks to butter up its drivers

Drivers can mark that they read the message by sending a thumbs up to the rider with one tap. Both drivers and riders will see if the chat has been delivered and received.

Uber already masks drivers' and riders' phone numbers using its own anonymization technology, along with third-party services, to route phone calls and texts, according to an Uber spokeswoman.

This update is the most recent from the company that aims to enhance both the driver and customer experience. In June, Uber added the option to request a ride for a family member or friend in your phone contact list. It also rolled out tipping for drivers.

Related: Uber admits it rented fire-prone cars to drivers

The startup, valued at $68 billion, has been rocked by a series of crises this year, including sexual harassment allegations, an executive exodus and building a tool to help drivers avoid law enforcement.

As part of the corporate cleanup effort, the company launched an ongoing "180 Days of Change" initiative for drivers, including services like a 24/7 support line.

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