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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Automate Your Life with IFTTT


I ran across a pretty slick service the other day that allows you to setup electronic triggers for performing certain automated tasks. The fast growing “If This, Then That” (IFTTT) service ties into a myriad of other services such as Facebook, Gmail, Google Calendar, Dropbox, SkyDrive, and many more. Anytime an action occurs in one of those services ("If This"), you can instruct the service to automatically perform a certain task ("Then That"). Many mundane tasks can be performed automatically by IFTTT, saving precious time each day.

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Previously, wizardry like this could only be performed by the most script savvy among us. IFTTT makes task automation incredibly easy and accessible to all. Examples of what can be done include automatically saving a photo from Facebook to Dropbox whenever you are tagged in the photo, or automatically sending an email to Gmail if it’s supposed to rain tomorrow.

The geniuses behind IFTTT make all of this very simple to setup. Once you connect it to a service like Gmail (known as a Channel), it walks you through the process of defining what you would like to do step by step, no scripting required. If you aren't quite sure what to do, or even what is in the realm of possibility, a huge number of “Recipes” are available that have been created by other IFTTT users. See many popular examples here.

If you have a WeMo home automation device from Belkin, and want to get really wild and crazy, you can even use IFTTT to do things like automatically turn on your WeMo-connected light every day when the sun sets and turn it off again at a specified time.  

I haven’t even begun to make full use of the amazing possibilities this service brings to the table. Check out this video that explains the service clearly. Watch it, get some ideas, and get started cooking up some cool recipes right away!