Uber’s new API for developers wants to make rides more fun

The new feature allows riders to connect their favourite apps to Uber . (Uber)

Next time you’re on your Uber ride, you might not have to leave the app to play music, read news or look for offers at restaurants. Taxi hailing platform Uber, announced the launch of a new API (application programming interface) feature called Trip Experiences for developers in India and globally. The new feature allows riders to connect their favourite apps to Uber and enjoy unique experience when they have some time to spare.

The company also held its first ever hackathon in Asia where about 12 different teams participated. “This is significant because this is the first ever time we are actually doing a hackathon in Asia…it is for the first time they are actually announcing a new API and it is a global API launch we are doing it in Bengaluru,” Uber India Business Development Lead Saad Ahmed told reporters here.

_d4be1b3a-a323-11e5-b48a-cd1d27fc398fHe said it is significant that they are launching this in Bengaluru as it was the city where they first launched their service in India and “it is where we are setting up our engineering team”.

Company officials said this was the biggest update to the Uber API since release of Ride Request API in March 2015.

They said Uber now makes it possible for developers to build moving experiences like entertainment: 10 minute playlists for a 10 minute trip including a five minute news update for a five minute trip, local guides, insights and offers at your destination, your home, turn on the heating  when you’re headed home.

“What we are announcing today is the shift from not just being focused on utility, but really opening up platform for true creativity,” Uber Developer Platform Head of Business Dmitry Shevelenko said.

Stating that average trip is 20 minutes in length, Shevelenko said in India it is longer because of traffic and congestion and that is one of the reasons behind launching here.

To a question about UberPool on the backdrop of odd even rule, Ahmed without giving any figures said, “It has been significant,… pool is definitely a big focus area for us, we are looking to scale that part of the offering.”

Asked about India in comparison with China market for Uber, he said, “India and China are both high priority markets for us… we are actually growing very fast in both these markets so we are positive about both the market.”

On Uber auto, he said, “it was something that we tried out for a while and momentarily we are sort of re-evaluating whether it is the product we want to re-launch or not. So it is something we are thinking about, but we don’t know yet.”

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