Facebook carpools with Uber: Send a message, get a ride

You don't need to leave a Facebook Messenger to grab an Uber ride: You can request a car right from the app with your linked Uber account.

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It just got easier to request an Uber car without actually using the Uber app: Facebook launched "transportation on Messenger" allowing people to request a ride directly through Facebook Messenger.

Uber is actually just the first car-ride partner that Facebook is working with; eventually you'll be able to see nearby vehicles directly in Messenger so you have a choice of which service to use.

Requesting a ride looks handy, particularly if you're having a mobile conversation with friends and all decide to meet up somewhere. There's no need to leave the conversation and fire up the Uber app to do. And all of the same information from Uber's app is available in Messenger, complete with a map of where your driver is, the fare estimate and your payment information.

Surely, Facebook gets more user data from the inclusion of ride requests. And Uber could potentially grow its volume as well; there's less of a barrier - not that there was a high one to begin with - for people to request rides. Ideally, customers could win in the end as Facebook adds a greater number or ride partners because it should be easy to compare rates between them.

To celebrate the service launch, your first ride is free (up to a $20 value) with Uber when using Facebook Messenger. Just link your existing Uber account in Facebook or set up a new Uber account if you don't have one already.

Facebook says that the new ride request service is in testing so it may not be available in your area right away, even if Uber operates there. The company says it plans to expand the Messenger capabilities to other countries soon.