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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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