2014-01-10

Co.Labs

The Most Popular Ways To Get Things Done With IFTTT

Plus a few great recipes you haven't heard of.



IFTTT connects your different web services and apps in ways you didn’t think was possible. Looking back on 2013, IFTTT just put up a list of its most popular recipes–-the term used for a set of triggers. Based on the results it would appear that cross-posting between Facebook and Twitter is still a thing, despite the two companies trying to escape the other’s shadow.

Leading the pack with 19k users was having Facebook posts automatically sent to Twitter and tweeted. Saving an article in Feedly also saves it to Pocket was the second most popular. And while a bit meta, receiving a new IFTTT recipe by email every day was the third most popular with 14k users.

Among the most interesting recipes on the list were the top ones related to the Internet of Things. There were far less users for these recipes--but changing the Philips Hue bulb to the color blue during rainy weather was the top recipe of the bunch. Also on the list was sending Jawbone’s UP data to a Google spreadsheet, and the third was using Siri to turn off lights connected to a Belkin WeMo plug.

Here are some other recipe ideas that weren’t on the list, but you might find useful.

  • Remember to pay your bills or send invoices. I have a few different recipes set up to remind me to pay rent, as well as making sure I don’t forget to invoice Fast Company. Simple time- and date-based email reminders can be a big help for important events.
  • Save your creative work. If you publish content online it can be easy to lose track of all the work you’ve done. Setting up a recipe to take all the posts published to a certain RSS feed and send it to Evernote or Pinboard can help keep track of it all. Setting up a central portfolio of work is much easier if you don’t have to manually track down the articles.
  • Save other people’s Instagram photos. Don’t steal other people’s work, but if you constantly find yourself wishing you had a copy of the photo your wife posted on Instagram, you may want to set up a simple recipe to automate the process. You can have IFTTT save a copy of an Instagram photo to Dropbox or other cloud storage service every time you like a photo. Just make sure you keep track of which photos you click the “like” button on.
  • The lazy weather forecast. Because I live in Southern California and the weather is always the same, checking the weekly forecast just isn’t that important. It’s is nice to get an email when it’s supposed to rain the next day.

Despite IFTTT being fairly well known among the Internet crowd, it’s still a niche product. You may not realize that there are alternatives that connect to different services. Zapier is one that claims it connects more than 250 different services, including Google Glass.

Zapier features a lot of commerce options including PayPal, Stripe, and Shopify, though some of the services are part of Zapier’s premium tier. There’s also CloudWork, which is focused on the business sector and which is available on most platforms.