The Uber Map Doesn't Actually Show You Where The Cars Really Are
One of the best things about Uber, apart from not having to speak to anyone, is being able to see how many taxis are nearby before watching the car icon zoom across the map towards you. Gone are the days where you had a wait outside in the rain for your chariot to arrive, instead you can time your last pre-drink to perfection and dash out of the door as soon as it pulls up. Well, that's what you thought. Prepare for the rug to be pulled from right under your feet - the real time car icons are a lie.
Uber uses something called 'batch matching' which doesn't mean spending three hours swiping right on Tinder. Instead, Uber takes into account the most optimised ride for everyone around you instead of matching you with your closest ride.
This means that even if there's a taxi just two minutes away from you, you might end up in one four minutes away just so someone can get a six-minute wait instead of ten minutes. You're basically adding more time onto your wait for the greater good. But before you start kicking off, just remember that you'll enjoy the benefit as much as anyone else.
Basically, we're all slaves to the algorithm.
With around 17 million journeys using day the widely debated transport service, it's no wonder that there's a few tricks being used under the head to make each journey run as smoothly as possible. They're not doing too badly as the average global wait time for an Uber is just five minutes.
This means that just because a car appears to be driving next to you on the app, it doesn't mean that it'll be the one to pick you up. So what on Google Earth are we looking at then if those micro-taxi icons aren't always real? Those little cars driving around are a graphical representation of the cars that are out there, it turns out.
In a statement provided to Mashable, an Uber spokesperson said:
"Our goal is for the number of cars and their location to be as accurate as possible in real time. Latency is one reason this is not always possible. Another reason is that the app only shows the nearest eight cars to avoid cluttering the screen. Also, to protect the safety of drivers, in some volatile situations, the app doesn't show the specific location of individual cars until the ride is requested."
So there you have it. If you go on the Uber app, you'll never see more than eight tiny cars on the screen at one time even if there are more cars out there. Go and have a look.
Featured Image Credit: PA