Uber is on a mission for global domination. The ride-hailing app isn't just expanding to just about every country you can think of, it also wants other apps to add Uber as an option--within reason, of course.
"We believe that any app with a map is a potential Uber API partner," the company said in a Wednesday blog post.
Well, that's pretty broad. You can count out other ride-sharing apps. TechCrunch noticed that Uber's API forbids third parties from using an Uber competitor's API. Lyft hasn't opened its tools for developers, but car-hailing app Hailo rolled out its own API on Thursday.
Uber picked 11 partners to launch its API, which will allow third-party developers to bake Uber into their own apps. That doesn't mean those partners have to add ride-hailing, especially if it doesn't make sense to use them that way. In the case of Momento, your Uber trip history will show up in the life-logging app's timeline of your life. Event guide Time Out will show various Uber options for getting to fun places.
But other partners don't make much sense. Do you really need to hail a ride to the nearest Starbucks? Let's be honest, there's one on every corner. You should probably just walk. We spent some time dreaming up new API partners besides the 11 that Uber already announced--some apps are logical fits for Uber integration, while others would be pretty ridiculous.
The best use cases
Yelp: Have you ever read a restaurant review that made you want to jump up and go out to eat right this second? I rarely read game-changers like that on Yelp, but if I do, being able to tap the screen and get a car at my door in minutes would be great news for my growling stomach (and probably bad news for my wallet).
Foursquare: Now that Foursquare follows you around, the app should be able to sense when you've been standing in line at a popular restaurant for an hour. Or two hours. (Not that I've ever done that.) A useful push notification would go something like: "Are you seriously still waiting for an artisanal grilled cheese? Why not Uber over to this other cool restaurant that serves similar food and rarely has a wait?"
Facebook: I confess to being one of the few people who still uses Facebook check-ins to let friends know where I am. While Facebook was reportedly looking at Uber integration for its Messenger app, I think the network should think bigger. My friends should be able to tap my check-in and hail a car straight to my location. Put Uber in Facebook proper and watch the number of on-demand rides soar--and so will the number of credit card numbers at Facebook's fingertips.
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