Uber just went public — here's what the app looked like when it first launched in New York City in 2011

Business Insider/Lisa Eadicicco
  • Uber made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday in the most-watched tech IPO of 2019.
  • But back in 2011, when Uber first broke in to New York City, it was still a young startup, and its app was still pretty primitive.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In the 10 years since its official launch as UberCab in 2009, Uber has become a ride-sharing juggernaut.

Uber, which made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday in the most-watched tech IPO of 2019, now has 91 million users in 700 cities around the world. The company says 14 million Uber trips are taken each day.

But in 2011, when Business Insider first tried Uber, the concept of using a smartphone app to order a taxi was still relatively new to most people. Back then, Uber had just launched in markets like New York City and Paris, laying the groundwork for what’s now an international ride-hailing empire.

Here’s what Uber’s app looked like in 2011 compared to today.

Here’s what it looked like when requesting a pickup in Uber’s app back when it launched in New York in 2011. The interface is much simpler, and the design language is completely different.

Business Insider/Alyson Shontell

Now, here’s the modern Uber app interface when requesting a ride. You’ll notice the design is much sleeker and more detailed, and the app is able to display much more information at a glance.

Business Insider/Paige Leskin

For example, you can see how long it will take for the driver to arrive before you even place your request. The map is also much richer than it was eight years ago. Of course, improvements to Google Maps and Apple’s iOS operating system have also contributed to the boost in the app’s quality.

Here’s what Uber’s app looked like as it was locating the nearest driver back in 2011.

Business Insider/Alyson Shontell

Today, Uber’s app can display your other recent stops as you enter your destination. The map also provides an indication of how many Uber drivers are currently in your area.

Business Insider/Paige Leskin

While the old Uber app looks much more primitive and limited than today’s version, it still prominently displayed information like the driver’s name, star rating, and ETA.

Business Insider/Alyson Shontell

Here’s another look at the modern app. In addition to displaying the amount of time it will take to arrive at your destination, it also shows the likely route.

Paige Leskin/Business Insider

But no matter what the app looks like, the basic idea hasn’t changed in all this time: Push a button on your phone, get a ride.

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