Inspiration : The community of Uber riders is growing exponentially across the world. At any given time, there are many people across the world taking an Uber ride. So we came up with the idea to connect people within this large global community based on some common interests they share (besides Uber). It can be a great way to get to know new people with shared interests and make the commute more fun.

What it does : It asks users to login using their Uber credentials and share some of their interests on the app. While they're en route in their Uber rides, they can choose to start a chat with a fellow Uber rider. Based on their listed interests, riders will be randomly connected via chat to other people also in an Uber ride at the time. Chats with new people can only be initiated while riding an Uber. However, once a user has connected with a fellow Uber rider, they can choose to continue chatting with them later (or not) once their commute is over.

How I built it : We used Parse for the server and database, and Javascript to build the back-end. We developed the app using Android Studio and the Uber API. Users login via Uber and once they've given the necessary permissions, they can start chatting with other Uber riders as soon as they go on their next Uber ride. On signing up, users are asked for some of their interests. Using the Uber API, we check for the current request status of the riders. If it is "in_progress", then they will be able to start a new chat with another unknown Uber rider, which will be randomly selected by the app from the pool of other riders also in an Uber and with some common interests.

Challenges I ran into: One of the main challenges we faced was getting familiar with using the Uber API for Android development. To access the "in_progress" and "requested" statuses of Uber ride requests, we required the request_id for the users' requests which meant that they had to order an Uber from our app rather than the Uber app. Being unfamiliar with advanced Android development and the Uber API meant there was a learning curve to overcome before we could get started with development, which led to less time for building some features and making the app as beautiful as we had hoped to.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of : Despite our shortcomings in technical know-how of the Uber API and Android app development intricacies, we divided the tasks between the team members according to our strengths and covered substantial ground towards building the app we had in mind.

What's next for UberHoot : We plan to continue development and incorporate more features and options in the app like providing more incentives for people who connect through our app to physically meet up, blacklist or report people that users would rather avoid chatting with and so on.

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