Uber's New Feature Connects Basically Everything

Your trip to the airport is about to get more interesting. Recently, Uber announced the launch of Uber Trip Experiences, an update allowing users to integrate third-party apps into their rides based on details about their trip. According to Uber's blog, the update was inspired by the results of the company's decision to open its application program interface (API) to major developers last year. In the months since, developers have integrated Uber into all kinds of apps — United Airlines, for instance, allows you to call a ride through its app, and StubHub now has an option to remind you to call a ride closer to an event.

"What if developers could also offer users of their apps new ways to enjoy themselves — or get stuff done — while they’re on the road?" Uber writes on the post announcing Uber Trip Experiences. And lo, Uber Trip Experiences (UTE) was born, "connect[ing] riders with their favorite apps at the start of a trip when they may have some time to spare." With users' permission, the update allows apps to recommend activities based on the details of the trip. Once the details have been established, Uber writes that UTE will offer all sorts of activities: Turning on the heating at home, creating a playlist for the duration of the trip, providing news updates in real time, and so on.


On the other hand, it's not all sunshine and Honda Civic rides. The Verge points out that UTE is the perfect set-up for irritating ads and promotions; although the company writes that it bars apps from unsolicited push notifications, that doesn't mean you won't have to sit through a video ad before getting to whatever you're streaming. Furthermore, any one-stop integrated "app experience" always reminds me of exactly how much information we keep on our phones. Combined with the fact that you can book an Uber from Facebook Messenger, the overall effect is a little Skynet-esque.

Fortunately, users can opt out of UTE, even if they enabled it in the first place. "Users will be in complete control... And if they find it’s not useful, users will be able to turn off the feature on an app by app basis," the company writes.

So if you'd rather keep the details of your trip to yourself, or if you simply want to interact with your Uber driver instead of staring at your phone, you don't have to use UTE. If you're interested, though, you can find a tutorial on Uber's website.

Image: Giphy