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Facebook partners Uber to enhance Messenger

Move emulates rival Asian messaging apps that can be used to hail a car, shop for games, buy virtual stickers

Published Thu, Dec 17, 2015 · 09:50 PM

New York

FOR years, Asia's technology giants have been one step ahead of Western companies in how they treat messaging apps.

Instead of the relatively simple programs that Americans use to send messages and photos to friends, popular Asian services such as WeChat have become digital Swiss Army knives: People can use them to hail a car, shop for games, buy virtual stickers to send to friends and even shop for physical goods.

But recently, Facebook, the world's largest social network, has begun to emulate its Asian rivals, making its Messenger service - with 700 million users - more of an all-purpose platform.

On Wednesday, Facebook announced a partnership with Uber, the ride-hailing service, that will for the first time allow users in the United States to summon a vehicle from within the Messenger smartphone app. It is a signific…

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