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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Uber Understands The Power Of Information For Communities

Uber wants to bring reliable transportation available for anyone anywhere. Through opening their API, the company is engaging their community in the process.

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Since 2009, Uber has been evolving the way world moves through the use of data and technology. While simple on the surface, the seamless Uber experience for drivers and riders relies on the enormous complexity that powers it.

As Uber is available in 63 countries around the world, the company wants to embrace their network built around the data-driven app. To make cities even more accessible, the company opened the Uber API to see what their community of developers could built on top of it.

“Community is our corner stone,” says Adam Ohren, the Developer Relations Partner Engineer of Uber.

“We want our API experience to shine, and we have a committed developer relations team to support our developer community from largest showcases to hackathons or individuals who want to help,” Ohren describes.

Bringing People And Cities Closer

The official launch for opening the API was in August 20th, and ever since developers all around the world have been able to participate in taking service experiences to the next level with Uber.

Through the open API, apps have access to many of the Uber primitives such as pass a destination address to the Uber app, display pickup times, provide fare estimates and access trip history.

Latest addition to the variety of properties has been Ride Reminders API, which enables setting reminders for future trips. When the appropriate time arrives, the Uber App will generate a push notification on the user’s device and – with one tap or swipe – they’ll be on their way.

In the beginning the launch, Uber was integrated with the API to 11 companies. Expensify, Hinge, Momento, OpenTable, Starbucks Coffee Company, TripAdvisor and United Airlines were among the first partner apps providing solutions for making for example arranging dinner dates and catching flights more smooth.

With Hinge, the user can order an Uber directly from a Hinge chat – and arrive to a date in style. Photo: Hinge

Ohren says the whole process is motivated by their growing developer ecosystem, and they want to share the power of Uber with the developer community.

“We’re committed to go forward with thousands of developers working with us around the world. We’ve had full API support in all countries after September when we launched in China,” Ohren explains and continues that the global community enables solving local problems with the integrations.

All in all, the company believes that basically any app with a map is a potential Uber API partner.

“People are familiar with using Uber in their local context, so obviously they concentrate on problems close to their own communities – But at the same time the solutions are not limited to one local use case. This enables creating something globally significant,” says Ohren.

While traveling, Expensify app will detect when you land and have an Uber driver waiting outside baggage claim to escort you straight to your hotel. Photo: Expensify

Ohren says their team will continue working to add functionality, provide support, address feedback and deliver even more value to the developers. Fostering the community is important for a company that still has the heart of a startup.

“There’s so many innovative ways to solve problems, and this is a great opportunity to do that,” says Ohren and describes that they’re very excited to see what the Nordic developers will build as Uber joins Slush Junction Hackathon running on November 7-8th in Helsinki.

If you want to learn more about how developers around the world have integrated the Uber API in their apps – check out the showcase page that introduces the most recent partner integrations, case studies and hackathon projects. “The use cases show the flexibility of the API – only sky is the limit,” states Ohren.

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