You can now hail Uber rides for friends who don't have accounts

You can also share your live location to help drivers find you.

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If you use Uber often enough, you've probably had those moments where you wanted to hail a ride for someone else, such as a friend heading home from the bar. It isn't always easy to arrange a guest trip, however, which is why Uber has just introduced a feature that lets you order a ride on someone else's behalf, whether or not they have an account. You just have to specify the traveler's name, phone number and location -- you don't have to serve as a proxy, and the passenger doesn't need a smartphone app. This could be particularly helpful if you're hailing a ride for someone who may only have a basic cellphone.

And if your would-be passengers do use Uber? You can help them, too. Uber now lets you gift credit in-app. You no longer have to buy a physical gift card. While there probably aren't many people eagerly anticipating Uber credit for the holidays, this could be helpful if you owe a ride to a friend.

The company is making the pickup process easier at the same time. You now have a live location sharing feature (thankfully optional) that can tell your driver exactly where you are, which could help you avoid a cancellation if your street address and physical location don't quite line up. Also, the drivers themselves will be more conspicuous: Uber's color-coded Beacons are expanding to Chicago, New York City and San Francisco, making it easier to spot your car.

The upgrades should be available starting today.

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