Ola has updated its iOS app to integrate Siri and Apple Maps, which will let Ola users get a cab on iPhones and iPads by voice search. Ola says that users won’t need to open the Ola app to track the ride progress, and view ride estimates and ride progress through rich notifications. Ola has also launched an app for Apple Watch. Users can also get a cab from Apple Maps, but as we know, that may or may not go very well.
Right now, Ola users can get a cab through Practo and Via.com other than its standalone Android and iOS apps. In September 2015, Ola opened up its API for developers and said that Samsung, MakeMyTrip, Helpchat and inMobi had integrated its API.
In June, we reported that third-party app developers could integrate Apple’s voice assistant Siri into their apps. Users would be able to launch these apps and work on certain functionalities of the app within the Siri interface. Siri is now available on Mac, Apple TV, and Apple Watch. Apple has released SiriKit for developers to perform such in-app functions.
Apple also opened up Apple Maps and navigation feature to third-party developers. On iOS 10, developers are allowed to integrate third-party extensions into the Maps app. More on that here. Apple opened up Siri to third party developers in the same month. Right now, Siri can book taxis through voice commands, send messages through third party apps, look up photos taken during a time frame, send money, make video calls and keep track of workouts.
Ola’s Apple-Didi connection
Note that in May this year, Apple pumped in $1 billion in Didi Chuxing to understand the Chinese market and make future collaborations. At the time, podcaster Amir Efreti’s tweeted that Apple would merge some Apple products into Didi. Apple Pay was introduced in China in February.
Ola has raised money twice from Didi: once in September 2015 and the other in November 2015. Combined, Ola raised $725 million from Didi and its other investors including Tiger Global, SoftBank Group and DST Global.
In December 2015, Ola got into an alliance with Didi, Lyft and GrabTaxi to take on Uber in Southeast Asia, India, China and the US. As a result of this alliance, US Lyft users could get a Lyft cab in China from this April. However, last month, Uber sold its China business to Didi taking the valuation of the combined entity to $35 billion. Didi has also invested $100 million into Lyft, and it also participated in a $350 million round of funding for GrabTaxi.