Uber

Online taxi booking service Uber has released a new ‘Request’ endpoint for its API that will allow developers to request rides and dispatch drivers via their own app. Uber mentions it will make other API endpoints available soon.

Interestingly, on its developer website, Uber lists ‘show available Uber products’, display price estimates, provide time estimates, explore a user’s activity, get user details and request a ride, as API calls it will allow. So it looks like these other API endpoints will also be introduced soon, although the company did not provide a definitive timeline. The API can be used for developing apps on any platform.

According to Uber, it has already seen a positive response from its partners including Starwood Hotels & Resorts, TripAdvisor, Transit App and Citymapper, which got prior access to the API. The cab booking service is also hosting a hackathon to promote its API. The top 5 app submissions based on Uber’s API will be featured on Uber’s developer website and the top team will win a trip to Uber HQ in San Francisco.

This development is good news for the end user, as developers will be able to integrate Uber’s services into a variety of apps. Travel apps will be able to offer end to end travel solutions, for example a taxi can pick up a user in time for their train/bus etc., and offer pickup on reaching the destination. This package can be made bookable through one ‘ticket’. Similarly calendar or note taking apps can book taxis beforehand for meetings etc.

Other developments:

– Last month, Google maps integration with Uber had rolled out in India. The feature was first rolled out in the US last year in May and now seems to be active now in Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. As part of the integration, when users search for a destination they will also get an option to book a ride with Uber which shows up in the public transportation pane.

– The same month, the company also tied-up with location-based mobile safety app Safetipin to enable Uber’s partner drivers to collect area data across Delhi from February 25 to improve passenger safety. This pilot program will be continued for the next 5 months.