Uber has a plan to try and spice up your rides.
On Tuesday, the company announced “Uber Trip Experiences.” It’s a way to let developers integrate their apps into the main Uber app so customers can use them on a journey.
Uber gives a few examples of how this might work: A music app — like Spotify — could build you a ten-minute playlist if it knows you’re going to be on a ten-minute trip.
Or, if you’d rather prepare for where you’re going, Uber could bring up an app that will provide “insights and offers at your destination.”
From Uber’s perspective, this also opens up the possibility of new avenues for revenue — feeding the user adverts and promoted apps. That said, a user has to opt-in for each app, so you’re (hopefully) unlikely to be inundated with promotions not relevant your interests.
The company is increasingly moving to integrate with other apps and platforms. Its API means other apps can add a “Ride Request” button, and you can also order an Uber via Facebook Messenger’s chat.
Last week, the company hired its first Developer Experience Lead, Chris Messina, who is responsible for encouraging developers to use the platform. In a blog post on Medium accompanying his hire, Messina sketched out a vision for Uber that extends far beyond its origins as a simple ride-hailing app.
He frames the company as analogous to Facebook in that it is trying to build a fundamental digital later for users to interact with. There are thousands of apps built on top of the social network today, and Messina envisions something similar for Uber.
Here’s part of what he wrote — emphasis ours:
Uber is now a network facilitator built on the widespread proliferation of smart phones, GPS, and excess vehicle inventory in the built environment. But that is where it begins, not where it ends.
As I see and understand it, Uber exists at the beginning of the inevitable shift from an internet experienced on screens to an internet that is present in and connects the everyday things that are all around us.
This is the internet that Mark Zuckerberg is partially describing when he writes about “building a simple AI to run my home and help me with my work”.
The question is not if, but when — and importantly, how — we will interact and engage with this emerging era of the internet.
Like Facebook did for people, Uber will build the foundational platform that will enable people to manipulate and control the world around them. But Uber can’t do it all, and this is where the Uber Developer Platform comes in.
Uber builds the framework, and the developers do the rest.