Today, Uber announced that it would let other apps let you call a cab using its network — without having to open the Uber app itself.
Developers are only just starting to figure out what you can do with this. Uber suggested ideas like a calendar app that can have a car automatically waiting for you after your last meeting of the day.
The geniuses of news aggregator and online programmer hangout Hacker News have some of their own ideas — joking, or not — in this thread:
- “Bar roulette where you would hit a button, an uber would show up, then take you to a random bar sourced from Yelp.”
- “Last-minute ticket sales to events (e.g. in the hour before they start) that include transportation.”
- “Having bars or clubs offer to drive people there for free and bid based on demographics of the user like an ad – e.g. We need more people in this age range, of this gender, etc. They would set a bid, and the app would ping people that matched the criteria and offer to drive them there for free if the estimated fare was less than the bid.” This idea and the two above came courtesy of user philip1209, who had previously given this some thought.
- “An app for blind dates. Combines Tinder, Yelp, Uber, and Airbnb, with a pretty workflow over the top. Call it Dial-a-date,” says user NeutronBoy. (“Airbnb might be a bit presumptuous,” retorts user pm.)
- “Imagine a product launch event – We need to pack a room so the press is impressed. Want anybody and everybody – tell them we have free food,” says philip1209 again, who is full of good ideas, but forgets that the press is always impressed by free food alone.
- User habosa had already built a web-based tool for avoiding Uber surge fares, but still relied on having users open the app to actually call the cab. “Now I can implement requests directly, which is very cool,” habosa says.
But the most nefarious idea belongs to the appropriately-named belzebub, who wondered about building a “traffic jam on demand,” “A la Chris Christie.”
Uber probably wouldn’t be a fan of that one — the company’s public image couldn’t take the hit. Uber will probably be monitoring usage of this API for abuse very closely.