OpenTable's iPhone app, with the new Uber API-powered "Ride with Uber" button
OpenTable’s iPhone app, with the new Uber API-powered “Ride with Uber” button

Uber announced today that developers who want to hook their apps up to the popular car service now have a new set of hooks they can use in the form of the Uber API.

Once they’re registered with Uber, third-party apps will now be able to show users what Uber products are available near them, and allow users to access data about their account. In addition, those apps will also be able to provide users with estimates for how long a trip will take and how much it will cost.

Certain apps will be able to directly request a pickup, but because that involves charging users’ accounts, Uber said that the functionality will be limited to a select number of partners for right now.

It’s a move that can expand the reach of Uber’s ridesharing service beyond just the company’s app.

For example, OpenTable just launched a new “Ride There With Uber” button in its iOS and Android apps that allows users to automatically summon a car that will get them to a restaurant on time. In addition to OpenTable, the company lists several more “featured partners” on its website, including Starbucks, United and TripAdvisor.

The new API also stands to provide financial benefits for developers. Uber allows them to sign up as an affiliate with the ridesharing company, and earn money whenever one of their users takes a ride.

Right now, the move puts Uber ahead of Lyft, its closest competitor in the world of startups that want to connect people who need rides whit people who want to provide them. If Uber’s developer tools take off, it could help drive even more users to Uber’s service, rather than Lyft’s.

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  • elbowman

    In REAL Uber news, PandoDaily reports…

    Earlier this week Uber riders in California received a stirring email call to action from “Team Uber”

    It begins…

    Who would have thought California, the cradle for American innovation, would take the lead in killing it. Governor Brown is committed to leading California into the future, but some in the legislature are anonymously doing the bidding of trial lawyers, big taxi and insurance lobbyists. Their bill, AB 2293, will be voted on THIS WEEK and would kill ridesharing in the Golden State.

    A bill to kill ridesharing! What are lawmakers thinking?! That’s terrible!

    If you want to keep uberX in California, now is the time to act. You are voting with your wallets every day – choosing Uber for a safe, reliable ride. Call your senators and tell them to stand up for Uber, your transportation options and the state’s future – not special interests. #CAlovesUber

    At this point, no doubt, many Uber riders will be reaching for their phones. Save Uber! They’ll be shouting. Helpfully, Uber provides a list of senators to call…

    Meanwhile, the more sharp eyed riders might have spotted that at no point in the email does Uber explain what AB 2293 actually does. And that’s likely for good reason: Because if they did then that “safe, reliable ride” line might start to seem a little ironic.

    Assembly Bill 2293, which passed a 7-0 vote in the state Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee and a 71-0 vote in the California State Assembly seeks to ensure that ridesharing drivers are fully insured whenever they’re logged on to a ridesharing platform, even if they don’t have a passenger in their car.

    The bill would put much of that burden on the ridesharing companies themselves, and comes after Uber denied it was responsible for the death of a child killed by an Uber driver while he was apparently waiting for a new fare.

    By using vague, but scary, language around “trial lawyers, big taxi and insurance lobbyists” trying to “kill” ridesharing rather than simply giving riders the facts, Uber comes across less as a company trying to rally its customers and more like a politician using an attack ad against its opponent. Which, of course, is exactly what Uber’s Travis Kalanicksaid he was planning to do.

    Good to see that David Plouffe’s new gig as Uber’s “campaign manager” is getting off to a good, honest start.

    Paul Carr

    Paul Carr is editorial director of Pando. Previously he was founder and editor in chief of NSFWCORP.

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