Want an Uber ride to go with that grande latte? Through the Starbucks app—and a small group of other third-party apps—people can now request a car without having to download the Uber app.
The new feature comes as a result of the ride-sharing company releasing an API (application programming interface) that lets developers add Uber features to their apps.
Besides Starbucks, other initial partners incorporating Uber into apps includes Expensify, Hinge, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Momento, OpenTable, Tempo Smart Calendar, Time Out, TripAdvisor, TripCase and United Airlines. An Uber blog post indicated each has tailored the service to the particular functions of their apps.
By ordering an Uber car to a favorite restaurant from the OpenTable app, for instance, a driver will arrive already knowing where you want to go. The United app shows the ETA of the closest drivers and fare estimates, so a user can spend less getting to and from the airport. In the Hyatt app, someone can book a room and a ride to the hotel at the same time.
Uber said it’s limiting the ride-ordering capability for now to 11 launch partners so as not to overwhelm its network of drivers in 170 cities globally. But all app developers can incorporate other Uber features, such as passing an address to the Uber app, displaying pickup times, providing fare estimates and accessing trip history.
For a “limited time,” Uber is offering new users up to $30 off their first ride through the partner apps. Additionally, it’s launching an affiliate program that lets developers earn credits toward free Uber rides as an incentive to build the service into their apps. They’ll get $5 in credit for every new rider and the opportunity to have their app featured on the Uber site.
The step comes a day after the red-hot start-up announced hiring former Obama campaign manager and White House adviser David Plouffe as senior vice president of policy and strategy. Plouffe is expected to lead Uber’s efforts to address regulatory and political opposition to the company’s disruptive business model, especially from the taxi industry.