Apps

Uber merges with Grab: What happens now?

Let’s try to answer some questions

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Earlier today, we woke up to the news about Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s operations in Southeast Asia. This is perhaps the most surprising news for commuters lately and, like you guys, we have some questions as passengers of ride-sharing services. What should we be concerned about and what’ll happen next?

Shortly after the official announcement from Grab’s headquarters in Singapore, the company also posted an FAQ page to address some common questions.

We took the liberty to help you guys out and here are some of the key questions answered by Grab:

What does this deal mean for passengers?
In the immediate term, nothing will change and operations will continue as normal. As we work together to combine the Uber and Grab platforms, you can expect better service with more drivers and transport options available on one app.

Will I still be able to use the Uber app?
The Uber service will be available in Southeast Asia for two more weeks until 8 April 2018, as we board Uber drivers to the Grab platform. Uber riders can immediately download and use the Grab app to book rides for your traveling needs in Southeast Asia.

Will fares change?
No. For services that are on dynamic fares, such as GrabCar or GrabShare, fares will continue to be calculated based on a base distance, with a dynamic surcharge that will be applied based on factors including demand and supply in that particular point in time, traffic conditions, and estimated time taken for the journey. This is a fair calculation for drivers as they navigate varying road conditions throughout the day. This means fares are lower in low-demand periods — and vice versa — which helps match drivers to passengers efficiently throughout the day.

Will I be able to get a ride faster?
We’re working hard to board Uber drivers onto the Grab platform. We appreciate your patience during this transition timeframe if there may be any service disruptions. In the following weeks, you’ll be able to enjoy a faster booking experience, as we welcome more drivers to the Grab platform.

What happens to my account information in the Uber app?
Your information will not be shared with Grab. If you are new to Grab, we will still need you to register your account with us to start riding,

I am an Uber for Business customer. How will this change affect me?
Uber for Business services for employees of local and global companies will not be supported for trips taken in Southeast Asia after the transition. Uber rides outside of Southeast Asia will still be supported through existing Uber for Business agreements.

According to Grab, passengers of Uber in Southeast Asia can still use the app until April 8. Passengers and drivers alike have two weeks to migrate prior to the shutdown of Uber’s local operations including UberEats if available in your region.

Keep in mind that Uber is only merging with Grab in Southeast Asian countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Myanmar, and Cambodia. This means you can still book an Uber and use their services in other parts of the world, so don’t delete the app just yet.

For the complete FAQs, head over here.

Apps

Google introduces encrypted group chats

Using RCS

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It’s easy to send messages from one Apple device to another through iMessage. However, for all the system’s pomp and circumstance, iMessage ignores the entire Android population, leaving an entire swath of the smartphone-using world without accessibility and end-to-end security. For months, Google has tried convincing Apple to switch messaging systems and work together. Now, in a new push to bring equality, Google has launched its own RCS group chatting system with end-to-end encryption.

Rolling out in open beta during the next few weeks, the new system will allow Android users to chat with a group of other Android users. Using RCS technology, messaging is free, secure, and easy to use.

For accessibility, users can send high-quality media, react using emojis, and see any typing in real time. It works much like other messaging services these days. One advantage, however, is that the new feature will come automatically with Google Messages, an app already baked into a lot of Android devices. Users might not need to download another app — and that also plays into security.

Speaking of security, end-to-end encryption will ensure that only the users can see what the conversation is about. Neither the user’s network nor Google itself can snoop in and gather data.

Unfortunately, the system does have a massive caveat: It won’t work between Android to Apple conversations. Because Apple uses a different system, it’s currently impossible for cross-platform conversations to have the same level of security and convenience.

In the feature’s announcement, Google even calls Apple’s texting “stuck in the 1990s,” renewing its call to get Apple to convert. The company then names several global companies who have already switched to RCS messaging, including Globe.

SEE ALSO: Google is bringing its VPN to PC and Mac

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Netflix might ask more users to watch films before they premiere

An exclusive group

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Watching a movie before it comes out thrusts viewers into an exclusive sweet spot beyond normal moviegoers. Not everyone gets into this club, though. Usually, the privilege of an advanced screening goes to people involved in the moviemaking industry. However, with the current zeitgeist revolving around streaming services like Netflix, it’s easier to catch a movie before anyone else can.

Offering more users a chance to enter this club, Netflix is expanding its pool of preview viewers starting next year. First reported by Wall Street Journal, the platform will reportedly include tens of thousands of viewers — a gigantic climb from its current base of around 2,000 users.

Members of this group will have access to unreleased movies and series over a period of six months. After which, users will answer surveys to help Netflix determine which movies are worth seeing or skipping. It works like a focus group but automated by Netflix’s system.

If the program does expand next year, the company has not confirmed how it will do so or who is eligible to join. If anything, they have been asking subscribers their interest in taking part in the program.

Focus groups and advanced screenings are a common part of Netflix’s content cycle. Besides asking users for feedback before releasing content, the platform also releases content in other formats prior to a streaming launch. For example, the upcoming sequel to Knives Out, Glass Onion, premiered in select theaters for a week before its streaming release on December 23.

SEE ALSO: IN PHOTOS: Dubbing with Netflix, HIT Productions

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Pre-booked parking now possible with Dibz app

Call dibs on your parking space

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Dibz

Ever encountered a situation where you saw a vacant parking slot while scouring the parking area of a mall or any other establishment – only to find out that someone is standing on the actual slot to “reserve” it?

It has got to be one of the most frustrating moments for any vehicle owner. Fortunately, an app to address parking concerns has finally been born: Dibz.

MPT Mobility’s Dibz pre-booked parking is a secure and convenient app which allows drivers to search, pre-book, and pay in advance for a smooth and hassle-free parking experience.

Dibz guarantees parking space close to one’s destination, and offers reward points for users.

A detailed history of a customer’s bookings will also be made accessible – which comes in handy for reimbursements or simply tracking expenses.

Initially launched in Makati City, the service is now available in Dela Rosa Car Park 1 and 2 and Valero Car Park.

Dibz is downloadable on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

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