Ola, a popular mobile app for booking cabs, announced that it had launched a Progressive Web App (PWA), a lightweight mobile website that offers users an app-like experience on smartphones. Through the PWA, users can book cab rides without having Ola’s native app installed on their phones.

Ola’s Android app takes up about 18.47MB of space, while the iOS equivalent requires 189MB of space. In comparison, Ola claims that its PWA consumes only 50 KB data on first payload and 10 KB on subsequent loads. So Ola sees two big demographics of users who will leverage their PWA extensively:

  1. Non-frequent app users.
  2. Outstation and rental customers who may be affected by intermittent connectivity issues Ankit Bhati, Co-founder and CTO of Ola, believes that the launch of this PWA represents another milestone in Ola’s commitment to building innovative technology that is ‘made for India’.

He noted,

As the first ride-hailing app in the APAC region that is using PWA technology, this represents an important development that will enable us to reach an ever greater number of customers and driver partners in rural India. We have always said that addressing market needs is a key priority and this launch takes us one step further in our commitment to providing mobility for a billion Indians.

Google has previously launched PWA like Flipkart Lite and Snapdeal Lite for Flipkart and Snapdeal respectively. Talking about the most recent collaboration with Ola, Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, VP Product Management—Chrome, Google, noted,

At Google, we are deeply committed to making the mobile web better for everyone. Our PWA journey began a few years ago and we are delighted to see the traction this technology has had, especially in mobile-first countries like India. It’s exciting to see Ola create their PWA, which will ensure their users have an engaging experience from the very first moment.


An overview of a PWA Ola-booking experience: 
Users can book an Ola through PWA across all categories, generate OTP verification for rides, and also pay for their ride through Ola Money. Ola noted that other options such as the use of maps for pickup and drop location, ride-later options, and the use of Share Pass will also be available on Ola’s mobile web browser.

The PWA version doesn’t provide the same visual experience as the native mobile app but does live up to expectations in terms of all the basic functionalities. While most of the visual elements are similar, the ‘getting ride’ loading screen on the Ola PWA is different from the native app. Here is a GIF which Ola shared that helps to visualise the experience.

Ola noted that it is the first ride-sharing app in APAC to use PWA technology as well as the Polymer framework to provide such a cab booking experience that supports 2G networks and offline bookings.

Ankit had earlier noted that the PWA technology is an important development that will enable Ola to reach more customers and driver partners in rural India. With customers covered, Ola’s next move could involve a PWA for the Ola operator app.

Check out Ola’s PWA on your mobile browser here: www.olacabs.com

Source : yourstory.com