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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.

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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