Uber now lets you set a person as your destination, which is equal parts useful and creepy

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick thinks of people as places, and now we’re all finally getting a taste of what that really means through a new feature of Uber letting you set a person as your destination, which isn’t creepy at all! The new feature is called “Uber to person,” and beginning Wednesday it allows Uber users to choose to sync their contacts with the app, which tracks an individual’s location by their phone. Instead of typing in the address of where you want to go in the “Where to?” field, it’s now as simple as entering your friend’s name.

“With Uber, you are going from point a to b. The new Uber to Person feature recognizes that people aren’t just going to point b, they are trying to get to each other,” Uber product manager Yuhki Yamashita told Mashable of the feature, which the company began testing in November. Yamashita was responsible for the app’s relatively recent redesign last month.

Thankfully, the feature will include one gateway to prevent some seriously dangerous stalking. Upon entering your friend’s name in the “Where to?” field, your friend (who is hopefully really your friend) will receive a notification and must approve the request to provide you with their location. But the real clever part of the feature is that your friend/phone contact doesn’t even need to have the app downloaded on their phone. They can still opt to have their location shared with the app, whether or not they’ve ever used Uber.

However, Uber to Person will only work if the friend you’re trying to visit stays in their location, and the location permission allowing you to access your friend’s location expires in 30 minutes. Your friend will receive a notification alerting them of your ETA.

Uber to Person could certainly be helpful, especially on those nights when you and your squad are a bit too far gone to be aware of where you are, and it could even lend a hand in some potentially dangerous situations. But in the wake of a lawsuit over privacy issues with users, the release of this feature could be a bit ill-timed. The app is pretty clear that if you’re using it, you’re sharing your location and other relevant data, but according to a former forensic investigator for Uber who filed the suit, employees of the company have allegedly used the app to stalk romantic partners, former romantic partners, and celebrities like Beyoncé.

But to Kalanick, the latest feature isn’t about stalking, but embracing the “future,” the Uber CEO said at a press conference in November. In a recent blog post promoting Uber to Person, the company seems confident the feature will have a function of some sort in everyone’s life: “Where are you? Where’s that again? These are common questions we ask friends and family when meeting up. If it’s catching up with friends when out of town, meeting your sister at the mall, or joining coworkers for drinks, now you can skip the back and forth. Just Uber directly to them.”

Uber is currently working with Snapchat to develop a filter that will inform friends of your ETA.

Tags: uber