Uber upgrades its API with “Trip Experiences”

Ronny Kerr · January 12, 2016 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/429a

While Lyft still doesn't even offer a public API, Uber's API gets more sophisticated

Never stop looking at your phone. Even once your driver has arrived.

Uber today announced an expansion to its application program interface (API) called Uber Trip Experiences, designed to use up the passenger's spare time in third party apps while riding in Uber.

For example, if Spotify knows you have a 20-minute ride, then it could generate a playlist of "morning jams" for your ride adding up to exactly 20 minutes. Or maybe Yelp or OpenTable could provide you with offers, discounts, or tips at the restaurant you're driving to. And for all of you with fancy integrated home devices, like Nest, the associated apps could track how far you are from home and start heating the home in advance.

Some more examples, centered around smart lighting systems and special content packages:

Here are the kinds of information third-party developers can access to create their own Uber Trip Experiences:

  • That they may have free time (they are on a trip with Uber)
  • The state of their trip (arriving/in progress)
  • How much time they have (estimated time to pickup and destination)
  • Where the Uber is at the moment (current location)
  • Where they’re coming from (pickup location)
  • Where they’re going (destination location)

We reached out to Uber to see if there are any live integrations yet using "Trip Experiences," but a spokesperson replied to say that they wanted to give all developers access at the same time:

"Rather than launch with exclusive partners, we wanted to level the playing field and offer ‘Trip Experiences’ to all developers at the same time. Development to production to actual availability into an app takes a little bit of time so we don't anticipate seeing integrations for a few weeks."

In other Uber API news this week, transit technology company TransLoc announced that it was partnering with Uber to help customers plan their journey from the first departure point to the final destination. Tapping into Uber’s API, TransLoc wants to provide its customers with the optimal combination of walking, transit, and car travel (via Uber) to get travelers from A to B.

TransLoc says it is piloting the program initially in Memphis, Tennessee, and Raleigh-Durham, but will offer it to other cities if successful.

The last major Uber integration was announced by Facebook for its wildly popular Messenger app. While chatting with a friend (or group of friends) in the app, the user is now only a couple taps away from hailing an Uber ride. In fact, you never have to open the Uber app as you get driver status updates and even pay for the ride directly from Messenger.

Lyft has said it is eventually planning to offer the same feature, which would be wise of them. Facebook Messenger recently reached 800 million monthly active users, making it the fastest growing app in the U.S.

Though Uber has offered its API for over a year, Lyft—Uber’s chief competitor in the U.S.—still doesn’t provide a public API for developers to access, meaning any integrations that do happen are still completely approved and rolled out in conjunction with the company. That said, there are rumblings that Lyft’s public API is on the way.

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Uber is a ridesharing service headquartered in San Francisco, United States, which operates in multiple international cities. The company uses a smartphone application to arrange rides between riders and drivers. 



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Lyft is a peer-to-peer transportation platform that connects passengers who need rides with drivers willing to provide rides using their own personal vehicles.