App-based ride-hailing service Grab launched a 'bug bounty' program that offers rewards of up to $10,000 for hackers who can identify security weaknesses on its platform. (Photo Courtesy of Grab)

Grab Introduces In-App Instant Messaging to Ease Driver-Customer Communication


OCTOBER 24, 2016

Jakarta. App-based ride-hailing service Grab has launched on Monday (24/10)  an in-app instant messaging facility enabling drivers and passengers to communicate more conveniently.

The instant messaging option, GrabChat, is supposed to cut down the cost of communication between drivers and customers.

"GrabChat is a simple, yet powerful, feature upgrade. It makes it easier and quicker for passengers and drivers to commence their rides by allowing seamless communication between them without leaving the Grab app or incurring mobile charges. Many drivers rely on calls and text messages before pickups to help locate passengers, share an estimated arrival time and inform them that they have arrived. Furthermore, we're seeing a steady increase in passengers using Grab beyond their home country and the availability of GrabChat will help drivers without international calling capability communicate with foreign mobile numbers," Grab co-founder Tan Hooi Ling said.

Over 50,000 users in Malaysia and Singapore were participating in GrabChat testing for GrabTaxi and GrabCar services. In one week only, GrabChat has saved the drivers 85,000 SMS and customers 45,000 SMS messages.

GrabChat features template messages to make the communication quicker. Most messages sent using GrabChat during the beta test were template messages, such as "I'm here", "OK" and "I will arrive in 2 minutes."

The beta test also showed significant decrease in the number of ride cancellations.

By the end of the year, GrabChat will also be equipped with auto-translation, supporting English, Indonesian, Malay, Mandarin, Thai and Vietnamese. The auto-translation feature is aimed to help foreign tourists in communicating with Grab drivers.

"We have a well-developed product roadmap to launch new features and more hyper-local functions to ease communications for local passengers and regional travelers with our driver-partners. Grab wants to be your ride of choice across Southeast Asia," Tan added.

Multimedia exchange features such as sending photos of pick-up locations will also be added. GrabChat will be available for GrabBike, GrabHitch, GrabExpress, and GrabFood.