Uber wants to use Facebook data to show what you have in common with other UberPool passengers

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Uber has filed a patent that might make its UberPool carsharing
service slightly less creepy, by showing passengers friends or
interests they have in common.


UberPool patent filing
How Uber wants the friend feature to
look.

Uber/USPTO

Judging by the filing, Uber will ask you to connect your Facebook
profile with its app when you request an UberPool. It will
do the same for anyone you’re about to share a ride with and if
you have friends in common, Uber will let you know.


UberPool patent filing explanation
How Uber wants the feature to work.
Uber/USPTO

Uber doesn’t just want to look for mutual Facebook friends or
friends of friends. It might also look for:

  • Whether you went to the same college
  • Whether you ever worked at the same company
  • Whether you grew up in the same place
  • Whether you were born in the same country as each other
  • Whether you have the same hobbies

According to the filing, the idea is to make sharing an UberPool
with complete strangers less awkward. But it’s possible knowing
this much information about a stranger might make the service
seem more, rather than less, creepy.

Uber’s also proposing a kind of exclusive UberPool where riders
can proactively request to share a car only with people who have
common links.

The company also seems to want the increased social integration
to run both ways.

The filing outlines an “Uber there” feature that could be
embedded into an event invitation. For example, you could be
looking at a Facebook invite to a friend’s birthday at a bar, hit
the embedded “Uber there” button, and share a ride there with
friends of friends who may live nearby, all without leaving
Facebook.

It’s worth noting Uber has filed but not been granted the patent,
meaning the data mining feature may never see the light of day.

If it does, all of this might make UberPool more palatable
to anyone worried about sharing a car with strangers. At the end
of last year, Uber had to issue rules for carsharing
passengers
, warning them not to flirt with or vomit on fellow
riders.

Here’s the patent in full.

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