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Ola opens up API for all developers, a year after Uber

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Online cab aggregator Ola has opened up its API for developers, that will let developers integrate the platform’s services on their apps. As of now, the company mentions that Samsung, MakeMyTrip, Helpchat and inMobi have already integrated its API.

The API will allow platforms to integrate ride availability, booking and tracking and time estimation services based on Ola’s data. Other than this, a look at Ola’s documentation suggests that the platform will allow the API to be used for app config like metrics, geo locations etc., to fetch translations and notifications, for creating, activating user accounts as well as validating email, resetting password etc.

As of now the API does not seem to support integrations for other services like Ola Money, Ola Store and other new categories on the app, although we expect these features will be introduced in time. Note that competitor Uber launched its API in August last year, which would enable apps to pass a destination address to the Uber app, display pickup times, provide fare estimates, access trip history and more.

Ola share:

Earlier this month, Ola confirmed to MediaNama that it would launch its own ridesharing services, probably to be known as Ola Share. This announcement came two days after rival Uber announced that it would roll out its car-pooling product UberPOOL in Bangalore in beta by October.

Rider number masking:

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Last week, Ola introduced a feature called ‘number masking’ where the user’s number would not be disclosed to drivers, and calls made by the drivers would be recorded and stored by Ola, across its operational cities in India. The company has integrated a cloud telephony solution which sends an encrypted number to the driver, through which all further communication is routed via the cloud number.

Cab leasing program for drivers:

The week before, Ola, which raised $225 million in a round of funding from existing investors and new investors, launched a cab leasing program for drivers which would let drivers lease a car for a deposit and monthly lease payments, with an option to own the vehicle after 3 years. The company said that it had piloted the program with 1,000 vehicles in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and 3 other cities, for which it sourced vehicles from Maruti Suzuki.

Free WiFi for Prime cabs under loyalty program:

The same week, Ola added free WiFi, ‘superior cars’, best rated drivers, through its ‘Select’ program for riders taking Ola Prime rides in Bangalore. Ola Prime is available in Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Pune, Chennai and Jaipur and is a drop service through sedans and SUVs. Ola launched the rewards and loyalty program called ‘Ola Select’ for its frequent customers last month. At that time, Select users would be able to use free WiFi, no-cost upgrades and discounts.

Drivers charged for using the platform:

This month, Ola and rival Uber started charging their drivers Rs 300 a week to try and prevent them from using other aggregating platforms. This charge, which applies regardless of usage, is being attributed to phone, mobile Internet connections and other services provided by the aggregators.

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