If looking out the car window during an Uber ride is just too old school for you — and you’ve exhausted all other time-killing options on your smartphone — the company has a new way to keep you busy.
On Tuesday, Uber launched a developer feature called Uber Trip Experiences, letting third-party developers give users fun or productive things to do during their trip.
Examples include getting a playlist to last you for the duration of the trip; showing you info and offers available at your destination, or letting you turn on the heating when you’re on your way home.
One use case that sounds especially interesting is gamification, in which Uber riders could earn points or rewards for moving around the city. While Foursquare-style badges — once all the rage for folks on the go with free time on their hands — are a bit passé right now, grabbing virtual points (and, possibly, real-life rewards) while you’re riding with Uber might give a second wind to the concept.
If this sounds like too much of an annoyance, worry not: Uber riders will be asked for permission before any app can connect to Uber and access their details; also, they’ll be able to turn off the feature on an app-by-app basis.
Uber has provided info for developers and more use cases here, with a warning: Developers they should not spam users or kill their smartphone battery with too much unnecessary activity.
Uber launched its API in August 2014, enabling developers to integrate Uber data with their own apps. And in March 2015, the company provided developers with an easy-to-create Uber button, letting users request rides from a third-party app, such as Facebook Messenger.