Before long, you'll be able to hail a Lyft ride from a lot more places than just the company's app. That's the vision behind a new program for developers the company launched today called the Dispatch Developer Program. Lyft says that this set of APIs will let developers build Lyft integration into their apps and services, letting users hail rides without even needing a Lyft account or a smartphone.
Developers will be able to use their own sign-up, billing and notification systems -- essentially rolling the ability to request a Lyft ride into their own apps and services without the customer previously having used the service before.
This sounds like it'll enable integrations to what Uber recently launched with Google Maps. From the Maps app on iOS and Android you can hail an Uber, pick your destination, and pay all without ever opening the Uber app. But Lyft's system goes even deeper -- the Google Maps integration still requires that you have an Uber account and payment system set up.
Lyft gave a few examples of how it imagines the Dispatch Developer Program being used. The company is already working to partner with car dealerships to provide customers with courtesy rides while their cars are being serviced. Other partners providing more critical aid include One Call Care Management and LogistiCare, two companies that offer health care transportation to passengers who can't drive or otherwise get transportation they need.
Judging from these examples, it sounds like Lyft is targeting businesses to use its services rather than make this something totally consumer facing (like the aforementioned Google Maps integration). Either way, it's a chance for the company to potentially make more money and find more customers in places it wouldn't otherwise -- something that'll be crucial in its uphill battle with Uber.