Back to basics. One of the leading cab aggregators, Uber India has launched a host of new (basic) features which include \u2018request for a guest\u2019, \u2018call to ride\u2019 and AI-enabled offline search facility for its users. The cab aggregator has also introduced a light web version of the app.\r\n\r\nSpeaking about the launch, Daniel Graf, VP, Products, Uber said, \u201cUber has a huge market base in the countries like India, Brazil and Indonesia where 3\/4th of the riders use smartphones with Android version latest of 2012. Thus, as a part of our efforts to enable global access to Uber, we are focusing on two key areas; building solutions for those who don\u2019t have access to the Uber app and enabling our existing rider app to work better in emerging markets.\u201d\r\nUber India: New Launches \r\nCall To Ride: Uber India has also announced to float a phone number for the booking facilities. The platform has generated top locations\u2019 area codes with a physical banner at the location especially for \u2018call to ride facility\u2019. Once booked, the area code will work as a meeting point for both the users as well as drivers. Interestingly, the calling facility is based on deeptech and won\u2019t need a person to entertain physically. The facility is currently made available in Pune, as part of the company\u2019s pilot project.\r\n\r\nRequest For A Guest Ride: Uber India has finally launched a \u2018Request for a guest ride\u2019 service that will enable anyone to book a ride for anyone, anywhere. The guest riding the cab won\u2019t need a smartphone or uber app in order to ride. To use this feature, the person requesting the ride for a guest can simply tap \u201cwhere to\u201d and then choose who is riding above their pick up location.\r\n\r\nThe service will be rolled out in the few weeks.\r\n\r\nOffline Search: For riders using the app in limited network areas, Uber is enabling offline search by cashing the top points of interest in the city so that riders can enter their destinations in the app without having to wait for the connection.\r\n\r\nKeeping the fact that Uber app doesn\u2019t work well with old smartphones, and feature phones, the cab aggregator has also launched Uber lite web that will be easily accessible by riders using feature phones or smartphones not compatible with the latest Uber app. Once signed-in, the website works same as the app does.\r\n\r\nSpeaking of the R&D behind these initiatives, Peter Deng, Head of rider experience at Uber said, \u201cInitiatives such as call to ride are not easy to offer, the Uber\u2019s Bengaluru development team, in fact, had\u00a0to go to Uber Brazil's offices to understand, how it could be done or implemented.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cMost of the initiatives that we have announced today, are the new initiatives taken, globally. Depending on its success, the initiatives will be launched in other emerging markets too,\u201d added Peter.\r\nOla And Uber: What Sets Them Poles Apart?\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nCatering to the same set of users, there has been a clear difference between Ola and Uber India when it comes to their approach or service. In contrast to its Indian competitor Ola which operates in 90+ cities in India, Uber currently operates in 29 cities of India, and 600 cities globally. While Ola\u2019s announcements be it, Ola outstation or Ola at tourist spots aim to deepen the penetration, Uber India\u2019s recent announcements such as Uber Access, Engineering Centres at Bengaluru and Hyderabad (announced yesterday) are however not about the expansion plans, but majorly focus on the existing cities' markets only.\r\n\r\nManik Gupta, Head of product, marketplace and maps, Uber India stated, \u201cThe current initiatives are not exactly aimed to expand the market, but to enrich our existing customers experience further.\u201d\r\n\r\nWith Uber, once a part of SoftBank\u2019s anti-portfolio, now set to enter its portfolio, differentiating the services and approach do make sense.\r\n\r\nAt a time, when cab aggregator Uber has heavily invested in Self-driving cars\u2019 projects in North America, and India is the world\u2019s second-largest market in terms of smartphone sales, Uber India\u2019s initiatives such as \u2018lite web\u2019, and \u2018call to ride\u2019 do appear to be too basic in their offering, don\u2019t they? The initiatives are a tad late too, compared to Ola\u2019s \u2018Ola offline\u2019 that was launched a year ago.