Uber adds live location sharing and more for easier pickups

Uber has added some updates to its rider app designed to make the pickup process easier in time for the busy holiday travel season. The biggest change is probably that you can now do live location sharing within the app, letting you temporarily share with your driver exactly where you are – all within your control from the main Uber screen. This should help avoid those moments when your driver isn’t sure exactly where to meet you to start the ride.

To use this feature, you simply turn on the “live location” feature via the tappable icon in the bottom right corner of the map display. A blue icon indicates it’s active, and the grey version means you’re not sharing this extra-granular info. You can tap the icon at any time to switch between the two modes.

Uber is also broadening its beacon program, which uses a hardware device in the driver’s windshield to display a corresponding door to riders to help them find the car more easily. It’s not rolling out in NYC, SF and Chicago after an initial limited pilot, so it’ll be available to more riders and drivers during the busiest ride hailing time of the year. Uber first started rolling out Beacon last year in December, beginning in Miami, Denver, Nashville and Newcastle.

Other rider changes include a streamlined process for requesting a ride for another rider (it no longer requires you to first specific a different pickup location from your own to request a ride for someone else) and a new in-app gifting flow for easily giving Uber credit to another person directly from the app itself.