Uber’s big API move ties in TripAdvisor, OpenTable (for starters)


Last month, I wrote about why application programming interfaces—the underlying technology used by developers to connect apps via the cloud—are the real reason behind Uber’s success. What APIs have done is freed Uber from having to be an expert on absolutely everything in its app—such as mapping and payments—and letting the company focus instead on getting drivers and users, finding the right pricing model, and expanding to new cities.

Today, Uber announced it aims to harness the power of APIs once again, this time by opening up its own API to developers in a bid to find users in more places—including through TripAdvisor.

Uber also announced the Newton-based travel site/app as one of the 11 initial “partner apps” that will be integrated with the Uber app. In the case of TripAdvisor, the integration aims to let users to more easily get an Uber ride to places such as restaurants and hotels that the user discovers in the TripAdvisor app, writes travel news site Tnooz:

When users visit the listings of restaurants, attractions and hotels on the TripAdvisor app or mobile web, they will now be shown a “Ride there with Uber” button, along with the approximate pickup time for an Uber ride and also an estimation of the fare.

Other integrations include OpenTable (request an Uber to a restaurant from the OpenTable app), United Airlines (“shows ETAs of the closest drivers and fare estimates, so you can get a reliable ride to and from the airport”), and Hyatt Hotels & Resorts (“request a ride to your hotel right from the reservation screen”).

Before long, though, you can expect any app that has a reason to integrate with Uber to do so. “We believe that any app with a map is a potential Uber API partner,” Uber said in its blog post.

Kyle Alspach has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since 2005 and was one of the original staff writers at BetaBoston.
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