We’ve mentioned IFTTT – IF This Then That – here on the site several times, but we’ve never really explained what it is. IFTTT is at its simplest level a way to automate tasks online. IF this happens Then do ThaT. It lets the user write ‘recipes’ which use ‘triggers’ on specific ‘channels’ to start actions.
For example if I am a regular Facebook user and want to have a backup of any pictures I am tagged in in Dropbox I can do that. The set of instructions is the recipe, the channels are Facebook and Dropbox, the trigger is the tagging of a photo with my name and the action is the downloading of the photo into my Dropbox. IFTTT has at the time of writing 69 channels and hundreds of triggers and possible actions.
To a new user this can all seem somewhat overwelming, but they do provide a way to ease you in. Sign up for an account, here, and then activate all the channels you use. In other words log into all of the services you regularly use and authorize IFTTT to use them on your behalf. At which point you can browse the most popular recipes that use your channels and see what other people have found useful. It all takes a little practice to get used to but the benefits available in automation, backups and notifications are very large.
Want to be texted if it is going to start raining? Want your Twitter image to change if you change your Facebook profile image? Want to save your starred emails to Evernote? Want to be emailed when something specific happens in an RSS feed? Want to log your Foursquare movements in Google Drive? All possible and a great many other things as well.