Uber builds on being 'best' by linking its ride requests to other mobile apps

United Airlines, Starbucks, Hyatt among early partners

The Uber mobile app was already gaining popularity with smartphone users looking to find a ride in a big city, but now the app is on the verge of getting much bigger.

Uber Technologies announced on Wednesday that 11 major companies are integrating the Uber app into their mobile apps. The companies include United Airlines, Starbucks Coffee and Hyatt Hotels.

In addition, Uber has opened its application programming interface (API) tools to a wide range of app developers, the car-sharing company said in a blog. "We believe that any app with a map is a potential API partner," according to the blog.

United's mobile app provides a Uber button on the front page of the United app, which directs the user to Uber to hail a ride virtually. United's app also has the approximate time for the nearest drivers and fare estimates. With the Hyatt app, users can both book a room and request a ride to the hotel from the Hyatt reservation screen.

Google, in May, added an Uber button to its Maps site to redirect users to the Uber app.

On Tuesday, Uber announced it had hired David Plouffe, a former campaign strategist for Barack Obama, as Uber's senior vice president of policy and strategy.

Uber has faced challenges from taxi groups in cities around the world who claim Uber drivers can put their passengers at risk and don't always follow the same rules that licensed and regulated taxi drivers must follow. Uber hopes that Plouffe's political skills will helpas the startup competes with the powerful taxi interests.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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