Uber opens API to spur new missions for its drivers

Early users of the software tool include Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, which has integrated Uber's car service into its reservation screen.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read


Uber is expanding its reach across a wide range of services.

The company announced Wednesday that it has opened its application programming interface (API) to the public. APIs provide the basic information that lets different software programs talk to and work with each other, so with this move, developers can integrate Uber's services, including bundling driver pickup, into their own products.

"We believe that any app with a map is a potential Uber API partner," the company said in a blog post.

Uber, known for its taxi-like car service, now reaches to more than 40 countries, and it has been working to broaden its horizons through efforts such as its Uber Garage testing platform. Just yesterday, in fact, Uber announced Corner Store, which lets you dispatch an Uber driver to pick up goods and deliver them to your home. That feature, which is being tested in Washington, D.C., is available in only two "delivery zones."

So far, Uber has quietly rolled out its API to some companies for beta testing. The company reported Wednesday that OpenTable has used it as an add-on for people requesting reservations. Upon making the reservation, users can now also engage a driver to show up at the desired time. Hyatt Hotels & Resorts has tapped the Uber API to give users the opportunity to request a ride to the hotel after booking a stay.

The API provides developers with everything from the ability to display pickup times or provide fare estimates. There's also a feature that lets developers add trip history to their programs.

CNET has contacted Uber for additional comment on the launch. We will update this story when we have more information.

Further reading: Vexed in the city: The 'sharing' economy's hidden toll on San Francisco