It only took a billion rides for the company to realise it has your guaranteed attention while you're in the back of one of its cars, so Uber is taking full advantage with Trip Experiences.
The new feature will work with third party apps to send content, notifications (and yes, probably ads too) to your phone, personalised to the length and location of your trip.
A news bulletin could appear at the start of a quick five minute trip, or a 10 minute playlist could get you ready for the day ahead if you're taking an Uber to work. Because the app knows where you're going, it could send restaurant recommendations near your destination, or prompt you to put the heating on at home if you've got a smart thermostat.
Trip Experiences works with the existing Ride Request API, so while it's only launching today, pretty soon there'll be loads of third party apps that will work with it.
It could be a handy tour guide when you're in a new city, but could just as easily be a slippery slope that ends with your phone getting bombarded with ads every time you get in the back of a cab. Pass a Starbucks? Expect your phone to remind you you're one tall skinny latte away from a free muffin.
Uber says it's keeping a close eye on what devs are doing to stop that from happening, and that you'll have final say over which apps work with the system.
Each new app has to be enabled to work with Uber to make suggestions in the first place, and if a particular app starts being a pain, you can remove it from the whitelist. if you prefer a slient drive you don't have to enable Trip Experiences in the first place.
Just keep in mind it can't save you from a chatty driver.