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February 3, 2017

Uber patents feature for mining riders’ social media data

By Joe Clark

Uber wants to use your social media to tailor it’s UberPool carshare.

A new patent filed by the ridesharing company shows that Uber intends to use social media data mining techniques to give customers a more enjoyable experience.

Currently the UberPool system operates by locating other users of the service heading in the same direction. By doing this it lowers the overall cost at the expense of a slightly longer travel time. The problem with this situation is that because it’s a stranger things can be quite awkward.

This new patent details how Uber could potentially access your Facebook data and notify you of anything that you and the other passengers have in common. It could be that you and the other person attended the same school or workplace, or that you have mutual friends or interests on social media.

Uber

The patent is yet to be approved by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office so it’s possible that this social media integration and data mining concept could never be. However it is useful in offering insight into the direction ride sharing apps may take in future to create a more social experience.

Initiatives like this could drive the rideshare business to new heights, turning ordinary commutes into social encounters. An idea like this also has the potential to turn people away from private vehicle ownership and cause reductions in congestion throughout major cities.

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In a new book published this week, The Upstarts, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said: “The kind of impact [Uber] is going to have on our cities — 95 or 98% of it is still yet to happen.”

“What if I said there’s going to be no traffic in any major city in the U.S. in five years? … I think that might happen.”

Currently Uber is available in over 66 countries and 545 cities worldwide.

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