Uber Takes Its App Down New Road with Redesign

Uber is taking its ride-hailing app down a new road in an effort to make it smarter, simpler and more fun to use.

The redesigned app also will seek to mine personal information stored on smartphones in a change that could raise privacy concerns, even though it will be up to individual users to let Uber peer into their calendars and address books.

It represents the biggest overhaul in four years to Uber's popular app, which is used by millions of people to summon cars in more than 450 cities around the world for rides that are usually cheaper than traditional taxis.

But as Uber has grown, the app has been adding more features that have made it more difficult to navigate, prompting the San Francisco company to come up with a different approach aimed at saving passengers time and money, said CEO Travis Kalanick.

The new design and features will begin to roll out Wednesday, though it could take a couple weeks before all users get the update.

As part of the new look, Uber will more clearly spell out how much it will cost to reach a destination in different types of available cars and estimate how long it will take to get there. The app will also recommend the best places to be picked up in congested areas to make it easier for the driver and rider.

The reprogrammed app also will study a rider's traveling history and list frequently ordered destinations as "shortcuts" so they can be chosen with a tap instead of having to type in an address.

In another time-saving move that will test how much users trust the app with their personal information, Uber plans to introduce an option by next month that will allow users to give the app access to their calendars so addresses listed in an entry...

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