Uber is taking over the world, not to mention all of your smartphone apps. On Aug. 20, Uber teamed up with major companies to install an Uber button on Starbucks' mobile app, along with apps from TripAdvisor, OpenTable, United Airlines, and more — making it easier than ever to call an Uber car. This new strategy is Uber’s latest initiative to expand the company’s reach to a global scale.
By opening up their application programming interface (API) to other mobile developers, third party apps can now “pass a destination address to the Uber app, display pickup times, provide fare estimates, access trip history and more, " according to Mashable. As of now, the complete list of participating companies includes Expensify, Hinge, Hyatt Hotels, Momento, OpenTable, Starbucks, Tempo Smart Calendar, Time Out Magazine, TripAdvisor, TripCase and United Airlines.
But how would this new Uber button actually work? Well, by partnering with popular mobile apps related to travel, hotels, and restaurants, Uber has essentially positioned itself at the center of every smartphone user’s plan-making process.
Want to look up directions to the nearest mall? Google Maps will show you how to get there — and allow you to book your Uber ride directly from the site. Preparing for your trip to California next week? The United Airlines mobile app can send you a notification saying what time you should leave for your flight and which nearby Uber car can take you there.
Sure the Uber button isn’t totally new, but it’s definitely improved. Though Google Inc. initially added an Uber button to its mobile app back in May, this updated version allows users to book an Uber ride without ever leaving the Google Maps app. Allowing users to navigate the Uber website from within other mobile apps creates a more seamless, intuitive experience that makes ordering an Uber more appealing than exiting the app and calling another car company.
This latest round of Uber innovation proves further that Uber is taking over the taxi industry. After all, who would choose to hail a cab when Uber has made ordering one of their cars as easy as tapping your finger? If other taxi services like Hailo and Lyft are hoping to compete with Uber, they might find that innovation — rather than merely pricing — has become Uber’s greatest edge over the competition.
Other taxi services can play dirty tricks, lower ride fares, and add some glamour — see Lyft’s trademark pink-mustached cars — but until they start coming up with new ways to match Uber’s keen understanding of what smartphone users want and need, they'll find themselves falling behind.
Images: Getty Images (2); Uber Blog