Lyft wants you to get to know your driver, and vice versa.
If you're the type of person who wants to have a conversation with the person who picks you up from the bar (and there are plenty of you out there), you'll likely dive right in to a new Lyft feature called Lyft Profiles. The on-demand ride service and Uber competitor plans to roll it out soon on iOS, with Android support coming later.
So, what are Lyft Profiles?
Exactly what they sound like, really. Both passengers and drivers will be able to create their own profile – the depth of which is rather shallow. If you're a driver, your profile will include the date you joined, how many rides you've given, your star rating, your hometown, and your favorite music. The user profiles will show most of that, minus the ride count. Both profiles will have an open-ended "About Me" section which can be populated however you like. So, if you don't really want to talk, you can let drivers know that in your About Me section.
Or you could just not fill out a Lyft profile. They're going to be completely optional.
Of course, Lyft's goal here is to get everyone in the car friendly with each other in the hopes that it will facilitate a better travel environment. And that could work, given both driver and passenger have a genuine interest in striking up conversations about shared interests.
"In cities with Lyft Line, we’ve heard countless stories of Line passengers connecting over shared interests or acquaintances. Profiles makes unearthing these small-world connections even easier, and is a big step toward our vision of reconnecting people and communities through better transportation," says Lyft.
There's one more interesting thing about Lyft profiles. They'll allow you to connect to Facebook so that Lyft can tell you if you and your driver have any mutual friends.
Oh, you know my ex Tina? How do you know Tina?
That feature is also optional.
Ride service companies are constantly on the defensive over concerns about their safety. Uber gets all the press attention when it comes to horrible incidents like rape and assault. There have been incidents involving Lyft drivers in the past, but you see much less of that than you do of Uber driver malfeasance. For Uber's part, the company continues to say that it's committed to safety, number one, numero uno, before all else, at all costs, seriously.
But Lyft hasn't faced the same criticism and scrutiny as Uber. Of course, Lyft's not worth $40 billion. It appears that until forced to do otherwise, Lyft will continue to play the we're all buddies card. It's working.
Image via Lyft