Uber has announced that it's opening up an API so any app developer can integrate the car service into their app. It's launching the developer tools with some big-name partners, too, including Starbucks, United, Trip Advisor, and Open Table. While any app can "pass a destination address to the Uber app, display pickup times, provide fare estimates, access trip history," most developers won't be able to call a car directly within their app. Uber says that "because calling it immediately dispatches a real driver in the real world, we’re releasing it in a more controlled fashion," which means that only a few big-name apps (including, presumably, some of the previously-listed ones) will be able to do that. Uber is also launching an "affiliate program," which will give those developers "Uber credits" in lieu of actual affiliate cash.
Uber's goal, of course, is to become the de-facto taxi app. It's actually doing a pretty good job of positioning itself that way, thanks in no small part to its integration with Google Maps and repeated attempts to augment its core service with deliveries. Uber's SVP of business Emil Michael tells TechCrunch that the service is "in over 150 cities and nearly 50 countries" already — and if this new API takes off, it could be in an equally large number of apps.