IFTTT (If This Then That) is a scripting tool that allows people to develop “recipes” to connect commonly used applications and websites in interesting and productive ways. For example, it lets users write a recipe that logs iPhone reminders into their Google Calendar or notifies them if a new Craigslist post contains a certain keyword they’ve been searching for. These simple shortcuts can result in some valuable life hacks.
Long a favorite of the developer community, IFTTT is the digital servant most didn’t realize they had access to. To change that, the web-based productivity tool recently went mobile with the release of an iPhone app, a calculated move to grow the size of their user base. Compared to IFTTT’s complicated desktop site, the simplified mobile experience provides users with an intuitive, attractive interface for creating recipes. They can even leverage Siri voice commands in both the creation and usage of recipes.
In the IFTTT nomenclature, applications and websites are known as “channels.” Each channel contains a collection of triggers, which could mean anything from a Foursquare check-in to a Facebook tag notification. Users filter their IFTTT triggers through commands like “send me a text message,” “send me an email” or “log this in a calendar app.” Web services then tie the recipe functionality together through the user’s IFTTT account.
There are currently almost 70 channels, with more expected to be added thanks to the popularity boost from the iPhone app release. There’s the potential for home automation too, made possible through the use of the Belkin WeMo family of products. According to the WeMo website, “you could have a light go on in your front hallway when the sun goes down. Simply use the IFTTT Weather Channel (or any site you like), and when it says the sun has set, have WeMo spring into action.”
The slogan for IFTTT is “put the Internet to work for you.” And this kind of automated personalization and connectivity provides a higher level of productivity. Technology was created to make our lives easier, and IFTTT accomplishes this with the release of its streamlined iOS product. From saving time on web searches to saving money on electric bills, this tool is the answer to many 21st-century problems. With plans to integrate everything from the Jawbone Up to Philips’ Hue color-changing light bulbs, IFTTT may even resolve a few issues users didn’t know they had.