Not to be left behind in the growing feud between Uber, Lyft, Sidecar and others, Hailo has launched a public API for its taxi hailing service, on the very same day Uber announced its own. The startup, which launched in 2011 in London but has since expanded to various cities across the UK, London and Canada, originally dealt in standard taxis vs. Uber’s black car focus, but has since also moved into black car, SUV and sedan transportation.
The publicly accessible API follows an initial launch integration with third-party transit planning app Citymapper last month. The Citymapper integration worked similarly to how Uber now offers an in-app link to its own services in Google Maps, but didn’t require actually leaving the app to work. Uber’s new API means that it now can and does offer this kind of instant car booking in various third-party apps, too.
Hailo’s public API isn’t surprising, since the Citymapper venture was likely a test all along with an end goal of launching something public if it worked out. Uber’s debut of its own API likely hurried the launch timeline, for fear it get left behind as the two duke it out for high profile app partners: Though in theory there’s nothing preventing developers from including both options, it might confuse users more than help them. If you’re a dev interested in Hailo’s API, the company suggests you email them at email@example.com for now to get started.
The news from Hailo today only serves to reinforce my thesis from earlier, at any rate – APIs from sharing economy startups are about to explode, and before long, you’ll be able to get just about anything on-demand from any app where it makes sense, and probably a few where it doesn’t, too.