The latest innovation from India's travel search platform Ixigo enables users of its taxi cab meta search app to book a ride in a single tap, even without internet or GPS.
Ixigo Cabs aggregates other taxi services, such as Uber, Ola, and EasyCabs, with the user being directed to the cab provider's payment page where appropriate, although CEO Aloke Bajpai pointed out that cash is still a common payment method in Indian cities, removing one layer of complexity from the product.
Ixigo claims that users of 1-Tap Cab Booking will have a reservation confirmed within three seconds, compared to the 20 or so it takes using the typical supplier's own app, and the cab booked will be the nearest to where the user is located.
As if that wasn't clever enough, Ixigo makes the bold claim that this service works "without internet or GPS".
Bajpai explained how this works. For the product to work "without GPS" he said that it uses historic location information held within the app or phone to work out where the user is most likely to be hailing a cab from.
"We use a lovely heuristic across tower locations, PNRs found on your phone or Ixigo app (so that we know if at this time you are likely to be at an airport or railway station), your home or work locations, most frequent booking locations, last-booked locations etc."
He said that if the data throws up a number of possible locations then the users can manually select one from the options presented.
For the "without internet" option, "we use SMS with some crazy tech behind the scenes".
It is currently only available on Android.
Ixigo has produce a slick promo video to highlight the service.
Local coverage of the launch in India has identified some teething problems on the day of launch, but the road testers were able to book a ride without internet or GPS, as claimed.
It also noted that many Indian airports and railways stations have free access wi-fi hotspots, which should prompt users to access the app in the most efficient way.
Related reading from Tnooz:
Ixigo adds in-app bookings to flight and hotel meta (March 2016)
Ixigo proves Facebook (not YouTube) is the place for video marketing (Feb 2016)
Ixigo preps intercity cabs, sees apps embedded into Micromax handsets (Oct 2015)