Uber's Ride Request Button Lets Every App Summon a Ride

Uber wants to use your app to make money. The Uber Ride Request Button, made available to developers today, lets app users instantly get a ride to any destination from inside other apps. Uber says the button is a breeze to install in both Android and iOS apps thanks to its streamlined tools.

The process to add the Ride Button is simple and straightforward and requires only a few line of code. Interested developers need to register their app with the Uber Developer Dashboard and then install the new Uber Android/iOS Rides SDK. Developers can configure the appearance of the button within their own app and place it next to every address or intended destination. Adding specifics about the trip (pickup location, exact address, etc.) can help optimize the process for everyone involved.  

The button interacts with your app users differently. People who don't use Uber can tap the button, but will first be directed to download and install the Uber app before proceeding to the ride. People who already use Uber can tap the ride button and go straight to the Uber app with the ride pre-configured. This is made possible with deep-linking.

"Prior to the button, developers would use deep-links directly, which required understanding our deep link parameters," explained an Uber spokesperson via email. This led to "lots of testing to ensure the deep links worked correctly, determining if the [Uber] app is installed and, if not, building an alternative link to the app store and creating a visual treatment for it all. This could take a lot of trial and error, and lots of effort."

What types of apps can benefit from the Uber Ride Request Button? Think hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, movie theaters, and other destinations. Uber's grand vision here is to let people buy movie tickets from their phone and then book an Uber ride immediately to get to the theater. Uber says this will help app developers offer a differentiated feature for users and earn additional revenue for their own business.  

Developers who live in the US are encouraged to sign up with Uber's Affiliate program, which lets them earn money ($5) for every new US-based rider who signs up via the Uber Ride Request Button.

"Our goal with the API button is to help reduce the time and effort it takes to integrate Uber and provide a consistent experience for all developers -- even those that may be novices," said Uber to ProgrammableWeb. "Now what would've taken days can be done with a few lines of code, and developers can get a great experience and results quickly."

Uber doesn't have any initial launch partners for the button, but it hopes the button will convince a broader group of developers to use the Uber APITrack this API.

Uber expects the button to get smarter, richer, and more useful over time.

Eric Zeman I am a journalist who covers the mobile telecommunications industry. I freelance for ProgrammableWeb and other online properties.

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