Amid controversy over potentially-invasive uses of software, Uber is making changes to its app that address a common user complaint: The app now displays a user's rating right on the main menu.
User's five-star rating system goes both ways. Just as passengers can rate drivers, the driver can rate passengers, too. But until now, it was difficult for passengers to see their ratings. Prior to the update, customer ratings were buried deep within the app's menus—and prior to that, they were only available upon request. The update placing passenger ratings on the main menu began rolling out yesterday, Uber confirmed in a blog post.
Uber also changed its rating system for drivers on UberPool rides. Under the new system, when riders rate an UberPool ride less than five stars, the app requests that they provide an additional explanation by choosing from a list that includes problems like route or co-rider behavior. If the reason chosen is something that was outside of the driver's control, it won't count toward his or her rating average. Uber says this change was meant to make UberPool ratings fairer for drivers. (After all, it's not the driver's fault if you get stuck in the car with an obnoxious companion.)
Both the rider and driver rating updates are an attempt at transparency as Uber faces criticism over its use of software to harvest data. Changes made to the app in November that allow Uber to collect more data have led to a significant amount of user defections, according to a recent study commissioned by Quartz. Among other things, those changes caused the app to ask to continuously track a user's location, even when the Uber app is not in use.
Uber also faces a lawsuit from Lyft drivers over its alleged use of a secret program called "Hell" to track them. Recent reports claim Uber used the software to cross-reference the movements of drivers an determine which of its own drivers also worked for Lyft. Those drivers were then targeted with incentives to get them to work for Uber exclusively. Uber has also been accused of using another secret program called "Grayball" to circumvent government investigations.