updated 10:54 am EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Hyatt, United, Starbucks, Tripadvisor among early partners
Uber has released an anticipated API that will let third-party developers integrate its ridesharing services into their own apps. The company says it is already working with 11 high-profile partners, including Starbucks, United, OpenTable, TimeOut, Tempo, Hinge, Tripadvisor, Tripcase, Hyatt, Mememo, and Expensify. Apps based on the API will be able to show available rides and/or price and time estimates, and make use of a person's trip history.
There are some restrictions. Most apps will have to push a destination request to the dedicated Uber app, much like Google Maps. The company is cooperating with select partners, though, to allow some apps to request rides independently. That function should expand to a wider number of developers over time.
As an incentive to use the API, an affiliate program has also been launched. This offers credits to a developer's Uber account, including $5 for every new rider, who themselves will get credit when they sign up through an app. Straight cash rewards are said to be "coming soon."