After hearing my colleague Richard Bishop extolling the virtues of the 'If This Then That' (IFTTT) site and the possibilities it opens up in tailoring content to users, I decided to delve in and take a look.
The idea is simple; conditional events comprising of triggers and actions can be saved as user 'recipes'. The site offers a multitude of 'channels' which essentially represent content streams that in turn either offer a trigger mechanism or an action outcome or in some cases both. 'Recipes' run every 15 minutes. A simple example would be using the Date & Time channel and the Email channel. I could create a 'recipe' to email me (the action) every day at midday (the trigger) telling me to have lunch!
Investigate deeper however and by utilising the channels themselves and their own capabilities you can achieve some pretty clever results.
I upload all my photos from my cameras to Google Picasa in order to have a backup. When doing this from my main physical camera I use the PC Picasa client - it's all very straightforward. However as most of us nowadays (me included) increasingly use our smartphone cameras for that impromptu shot, I was left with at best a separated backup elsewhere...enter IFTTT.
Picasa allows uploads via email, this is selected within your account settings. By installing the IFTTT iPhone app I can then utilise the iOS Photos channel and the following trigger:
"Any new photo taken with rear camera"
Using the Email action "Send an email" I can then email that photo, as an attachment directly into the correct album in Picasa automatically. My backup is sorted.
Some of our other favourites are listed below - you'll need to create them or browse the 'recipes' on the site. Share your best and most useful IFTTT's in the comments!
- IF Tomorrow's Weather Report THEN Send me an email - 'Send me tomorrows weather report via email at a set time'
- IF New feed item matches THEN Send me an email - 'Monitor an RSS feed and on match or new entry alert me'
- IF Any new contact THEN Add row to spreadsheet - 'Add any new iOS contacts to a Google Drive spreadsheet'