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Facebook Messenger Updates Location Sharing. Is Uber Integration Next?

New location sharing on Messenger is a foundation for more features to come.


On Thursday, Facebook’s standalone Messenger app changed the way users can share their location with friends, and the update seemingly paves the way for more features to come, like a ride-sharing integration with Uber or Lyft.

Users could already share their location within a message, but the new update lets you drop a pin anywhere on a map and send that map to a friend. You can also search for exact locations, such as restaurants or bars, and send that location along. Previously, you could only share your specific location but not other places, and there was no way to search for nearby businesses.

It’s a rather subtle update, but one that hints at more important features to come. Messenger’s product management lead Stan Chudnovsky described the new location sharing as “a foundation” for other features the team is looking to build.

“If it’s a restaurant [I’m traveling to], maybe there’s a reservation I want to make,” he explained to Re/code. “Or maybe it’s how I’m going to be getting there.”

How you’ll be getting there — sounds like you’d need an Uber or Lyft integration to make that happen. “I didn’t say that,” Chudnovsky added. “But you can imagine all sorts of experiences like that.”

Facebook started hosting professional restaurant reviews late last month, and also added an update in January so that when users check in at a specific location, they will see photos or posts from their friends who have been to the same place.

It’s easy to envision all of that coming to Messenger soon, too. Imagine this scenario: You search for a restaurant, find reviews, pass the location to a friend and then book your ride to dinner — all without leaving the app. It’s the one-app-fits-all approach popular from Asian messaging apps like WeChat in China; Facebook is one of many western companies emulating this approach.

“We definitely are very excited about everything that’s going on in Asia when it comes to messaging,” Chudnovsky said. “There are tons of awesome experiences that companies like WeChat or Kakao or Line are enabling and we are big fans of that.”

For now, though, it’s simply a location update for Messenger. The update will be pushed out to iOS and Android devices Thursday afternoon.

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