Who Is Going To Build The Uber API Platform For The Sharing Economy?

The sharing economy is booming, and with the release of the Uber API, the attention on this space will only increase. Personally I’m only interested in the surface area of the API that Uber has released, and what it tells about the opportunity for API designers in the sharing economy.

I think the surface area of the Uber API is pretty minimal, but very significant when you look at it as a glimpse of what is to come, as the sharing economy gets a direct pipeline to the API economy, and the resulting app economy. Oh yeah, I went there—I used all the economy buzzwords in once sentence. Seriously, I think the five endpoints that Uber launched with, are very telling:

  • /products
  • /estimates/price
  • /estimates/time
  • /history
  • /me

These API endpoints represent the beginning of the shared economy API surface area, and while there will be many additions, augmentations, and different takes on what APIs look like in the sharing economy, I predict many other providers will often emulate Uber in their own design.

I’m not really equipped to make a judgement on the value or importance of the Uber API. What I can do is keep an eye on Uber, and other sharing economy startup and their APIs, and look for patterns across each of the implementations. Hopefully the space can remain true to their roots, and make sure the API definitions are shareable, and reusable across the flourishing sharing app sapce.

Uber is focused specifically in the transportation portion of the sharing economy, and this makes me consider the bigger picture, and who will step up to serve the larger sharing economy, with an Uber API platform for the sharing economy. I think much like the wider API space, as the sharing API space matures out there will lots of opportunities for aggregation, real-time, automation, messaging, payments, and other API essentials that are in service of the sharing economy.