Lyft followed in the footsteps of ride-sharing giant, Uber and just added the ability to hail rides from Facebook Messenger. “Available to a handful of developers for a few months, we’re now inviting developers everywhere to build on our platform, make it even easier to request a reliable, affordable Lyft ride, and follow in the footsteps of our newest marquee partner [Facebook],” Lyft said in their blog post announcing its new developer program.
With this program, developers are given the option to integrate Lyft’s API into their own apps, allowing riders to call a car without leaving their app. This new feature is already available in several other apps, including Starbucks and Slack. Since Facebook incorporated Messenger as a standalone app, the company has been continuously expanding on its capabilities, and one of the many features being built into the app includes the ability to transact.
A little less than a year ago, Facebook started testing business applications through Messenger that let retailers such as Everlane and Zulily chat with customers through the app. While they haven't been able to actually process transactions yet, retailers can use Messenger to send receipts and shipping updates to customers. Facebook has recently added a number of other capabilities to Messenger. It has also partnered with Uber to allow Messenger users to order an Uber Lyft directly through Messenger.
According to TechCrunch sources, Facebook is developing a software development kit (SDK) that will help developers build applications for a specific platform. This would let retailers build bots to interact with Messenger users and enable shopping. Facebook is a long way from competing with Ebay or Amazon, but it will be interesting to watch how they build this out in the future.
It’s pretty simple, developers want to make sure you keep using their apps, even when you might have other things (like transportation) on your mind. When apps such as Facebook offer the option to hail a cab directly within Messenger, they’re making it a little more likely that you’ll stay in the app once you’re done requesting a ride. Often when users exit an app to do something else, they don’t immediately return to the app they were originally using.
This is just the beginning of the ride-sharing war between Lyft and Uber. Lyft says that it’s working on a variety of different developers to help integrate the API into “the most clever, helpful, innovative new way,” including sports apps, dating apps, finance apps, and more.