Everything To Know About Uber Trip Experiences

If you've ever sat through awkward silence or, conversely, awkward banter during a quick trip with ride-sharing monolith Uber, the company's newly announced "Trip Experiences" may be for you. But what is Uber Trip Experiences, exactly? Let's get into the nuts and bolts of it so you know your stuff before your next Uber.

In a blog post, Uber explains that Trip Experiences is a new feature which "connects riders with their favorite apps at the start of a trip when they have some time to spare." The concept isn't entirely novel — Uber actually opened their API (or application programming interface) to developers globally over a year ago. This essentially means that they made it possible for other apps to integrate with the Uber experience in ways that are practical, efficient, and often fun for riders. Think OpenTable's "Ride There with Uber" app, which lets users request a ride to their dinner reservations. Or Facebook Messenger's Uber icon, which allows users to request a ride from within a chat without even having to download the Uber app itself.

So how is Trip Experiences different, and what do you need to know about using it and/or avoiding it? Here's the rundown.

What Kind of Options Does It Offer?

Let's say you've got a little downtime on your Uber ride and want to fill it with something other than forced chit-chat or dead air. If utilized, Trip Experiences will present engaging options such as a 10-minute playlist for a 10-minute trip, the ability to turn the heat or lights on before you arrive home, a five-minute news update for a five-minute trip, and local guides that proved insights into your destination.

How Does It Work?

When an Uber ride is booked, a clear call to action is issued for the rider to authenticate their Uber account and allow access to Trip Experiences. Then, based on key "Trip context" data such as current location, pickup location, ETA to pickup, destination location, and ETA to destination location, third party apps can create a custom user experience — e.g. depending on your deets, they will send you opportunities and info tailored to your time and needs.

What If I'm Not Interested?

Don't worry — you won't be bombarded by offers if you simply want to Uber and chill on your way home (or elsewhere). Riders are in complete control of Trip Experiences. You must grant the feature permission before any apps can even connect to Uber to access your trip info, and you can at any time revoke that same permission if you find you just don't dig the whole setup or see anything particularly useful. Also, third party apps are not allowed to send push notifications or other messages at will.

How Long Will My Info Be Out There?

We've all watched enough episodes of Law & Order: SVU to be sufficiently freaked out by the idea of having our movements out there in the world to be monitored and/or memorized. But Trip Experiences does protect your privacy by mandating third party apps are only allowed to store your trip data for 30 minutes max.

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