Ixigo cabs app on Android has got a new feature, which ixigo claims doesn’t require an active Internet or even GPS to work. Called ‘1-Tap cab booking’, this feature should ideally be a boon especially when you are stuck at places with low network connectivity like airports, and railway stations among others. With all the hubbub around the service of Ola Cabs and Uber (or the lack thereof) during Delhi’s Odd-Even traffic situation, this would be an ideal way to find cabs. But does it work as prescribed? We find out. Also Read - ixigo rolls out new feature ‘Holiday Calendar’ for its smartphone appAlso Read - After HealthifyMe, Micromax invests in mobile travel company ixigo
This is how ixigo explains the technology behind booking a cab without an Internet or GPS connection. “ixigo uses a combination of intelligence about the user s location through existing PNR confirmations on a user s phone and SMSes for when the internet connection doesn t work to seamlessly book a cab for the user,” the press release says. Also Read - Ixigo launches new Android app that helps travellers find cabs
Let’s make one thing clear at the onset, the app itself doesn’t work without an Internet connection per se. You will still require a data connection to login and activate the 1-tap cab booking feature. For activating the 1-Tap cab booking you will first need to log in to your Ola or Taxi For Sure account. Once activated, the app will create a small floating widget (similar to Facebook Messenger chathead) on the home screen. The process is quite simple and you only need to press and hold the widget for three seconds, and it will automatically book the closest cab.
The video embedded below shows just how easy it is to book a cab via the app, but in reality the process is anything but smooth. We tried booking cabs without an Internet or GPS connection a few times, and only managed to successfully book a cab once. The app automatically booked Easy Cabs, cancelled it after a few seconds, and then apologized for it. All the while the widget was stuck on the ‘Confirming your Ride’ option.
Mind you this process involved receiving five SMS messages, including one from the Ixigo folks. In the meantime, we also received a long text message with a lot of gibberish text — see the above screenshot. This message was sent a second or two after trying to book a cab via the widget. After about five or six tries, we were finally able to book an Ola Cab, which we later cancelled (we received another three SMS).
It sure seems like a novel idea giving users the ability to book cabs without an Internet connection. But the execution, at least for the moment, is far from perfect. If being barraged with SMS messages is not enough to put you off, you will also need to book and cancel a number of times before getting your preferred cab provider.
With a number of airports and railway stations now featuring free Wi-Fi hotspots, you could easily connect to them for booking a cab. Most of these places also invariably have a cab booking counter if an Ola or Uber is not available. This feature is also restricted to the Android app for now, and iOS users will have to wait a while to get it.
If you plan to use this new feature, do let us know about your experience in our comments section below.