According to a report from Recode, Mark Zuckerberg met with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to discuss putting an Uber integration within Facebook's Messenger app. Someday soon we could order a car in between sending our Facebook friends weird cat stickers.
Facebook has recently been making a push towards mobile payments and expanding to e-commerce, and a deal like this would fit in with the company's overall strategy to meld communication and, you know, encouraging you to buy shit.
Plus, turning Messenger into a way to buy fancy taxis would help justify the app's existence. Okay, I concede that Messenger is more convenient to use than going into the main Facebook app and pressing the Inbox button. But that convenience is neutralized by frustration of having two separate apps to get the normal Facebook experience.
It wouldn't be quite as obnoxious to have Messenger sitting on my screen taking up memory that could be used to download Jason Derulo songs if the Messenger app could actually offer something unique, such as a way to buy fancy taxis ... or a way to order Seamless, or impulse-buy artisan pickles endorsed by Blake Lively. The e-commerce possibilites are endless!
It's not clear what kind of advantage people would get from ordering an Uber within Messenger instead of opening the Uber app. I would probably delete the Uber app if all of a sudden I could order Uber via Facebook. UNLESS the Uber app allowed me to chat with my Facebook friends. Then my head would explode.
Another reason Uber might hesitate during talks: A deal with Facebook could strain the relationship between Uber and Google. Google recently invested $258 million into Uber, and already has a Maps integration with the car service. If Uber goes for a deal with Facebook over, say, integrating with Google+, it might create tension. But it would also show common sense because no one will ever use Google+ to order anything.
Facebook declined to comment, and we haven't heard back from Uber yet, so this is mostly speculation. But it's fun to speculate. Would you order an Uber through Messenger? And what other integrations you want to see stuffed in there? [Recode]
Image by Tara Jacoby