How to teach your phone how to make you coffee and save pictures without hands: a review of the IFTTT MAP service

Imagine: you suddenly woke up because someone muted the alarm clock and quietly turned on your favorite song, and a warning about today's heavy rain and a caring message appeared on the phone screen: "Do not forget to take an umbrella." All the latest news about the matches of Manchester United were neatly placed in the Pocket, a message came to the post about a reduction in the price of a gadget that interested you long ago, and friends, while you were sleeping, already received a message from you wishing you a good day. "BUT?! WHO IS THERE?! I live alone! ” You can breathe out! This is just an IFTTT.

Banderolk not only brings the latest gadgets from the United States , but also tries to help effectively use them - for example, using the results of the work of American startups. Today we will talk about IFTTT - a free mashap service that can combine a variety of network applications, as well as the Smart Home system and many other seemingly unrelated devices. His slogan "Make the Internet work for you" explains the main thing - who is the boss here.

IFTTT has been operating for the seventh year - since December 14, 2010 . During this time, the number of connected services grew from four dozen to 500, support for physical devices appeared, a mobile application for iOS and Android was released.

IFTTT has no localization in Russian, and although the startup is no longer young, few people in the CIS know what this thing is. In her review on PCWorld, IT journalist Liana Cassava in one sentence amply described its specifics:
“This free service reflects its name in many ways: it is a little confusing until you realize how simple and useful it is.”


The abbreviation IFTTT stands for "If this then that" (from English. "If it is, then"). Each task (Recipe) consists of two parts - a “trigger” (Trigger) and an “action” (Action). A “trigger” is a specific condition under which a certain “action” must be performed. Simply put, triggering a “trigger” leads to the execution of a certain “action”. This simple principle allows you to very flexibly customize your smartphone and add those features that are not provided by the developers, but very useful to you. It takes less than a minute to create a simple “recipe”, while you can use the rich library of IFTTT algorithms and choose the “recipe” that someone has already invented or change to your liking.

Surely you are familiar with Tasker or Automateit applications, which automate many actions in a smartphone or tablet. These services are technically difficult, although they allow you to perform amazing things. IFTTT operates at a different level - the level of various services:

History of the creation of IFTTT

The creator of the popular service Linden Tibbets came from Texas to San Francisco in 2000 in pursuit of children's love for computers. He worked in the field of video games, but then he realized that he liked the most to simplify life with the help of a proper design. After working in a large agency, he came up with the idea of ​​creating an IFTTT. In an interview with PCMag, Linden stated:
“I admire the design. But not its aesthetic side, but how people use the product. Design changes behavior and relationships between people. ”
His application is about this: it will be as useful as you can make it as such.

The first function that occurred to Tibbetz was a rain notification. Linden cycled to the office and did not always have time to check the weather forecast in the morning, so he often got to work wet and angry. The first “recipe” he created is “Send me an SMS if it rains tomorrow”.

Initially, the project team used open APIs to write code, and now third-party application developers themselves integrate their services into IFTTT. The work is designed to simplify complex algorithms and reduce the time spent on gadgets, and not so much for notorious geeks, as for inexperienced users.

“In the design of the software, we specifically use this“ childish ”style - large icons, large print, different colors - so that everyone who opens the application thought:“ Hmm, it looks quite simple, it seems, even a child can handle it ”.
According to Tibbetts, everything in the universe tends to complicate, and technology - to simplify.

“We are accustomed to opening the door with our foot, if our hands are busy, or we hang our jacket on the back of the chair next to the bed, so that we can get together faster in the morning, but for some reason our digital life still comes down to a bunch of unnecessary actions. It’s time to change. ”
IFTTT was created to increase productivity and - no less - change the world.

What can IFTTT do?

Now the service connects hundreds of applications and websites: all Android devices, Apple products, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Etsy, Feedly, Foursquare, LinkedIn, SoundCloud, WordPress, YouTube and a lot others. And IFTTT allows you to create a little magic outside the smartphone: turn on the light at home, open the garage when the car arrives, cook porridge, remind you of training, feed the dog and wash the dishes - of course, if your home appliances are connected by the Home Connect system. But with “VKontakte” IFTTT will not work: for seven years, the guys have not tied VK, but they already have Telegram in the piggy bank.

The service saves not only time, but also money. There are several algorithms in the database of “recipes” that report price reductions for selected products: eBay auction and American stores Best Buy and Home Depot , from which Banderolk delivers thousands of purchases to Russia, have their own IFTTT channels. Using them, you can easily create a “recipe” and automatically receive letters (or notifications) when a particular product falls in price. For example, this “recipe” allows you to track price changes on your MacBook at Best Buy, and this rule will tell you when the price at the auction falls below a certain threshold. Suppose you want to buy an ATI Radeon RX 480 and do not want to spend more than 20,000 rubles. To do this, you can set up your eBay search with the IFTTT “recipe” and get a notification when a video card is found at the right price.

When using IFTTT, it is important not to waste energy on inventing bicycles, because there are thousands of ready-made “recipes” in the site collection.

Journalists from Medium rated the service, picked up some useful "recipes" and broke them into five categories.
1. Productivity
This “recipe” allows you to automatically add any Gmail letter labeled ToDo to your Google calendar as an event. With this “recipe,” any notes taken in iAWriter, Simplenote, and other applications and placed on Dropbox will automatically be sent to Evernote.

2. Facebook
Archive status updates on Facebook can be automatically saved to Evernote or to Google Calendar. All photos on Facebook, where you are marked with the corresponding tag, can be automatically copied to a separate photo album folder, accessible only to you.

3. Twitter
The archive of all our tweets on Twitter can be automatically saved as a text file in the Dropbox cloud or in the Google Spreadsheet. Sending tweets can be scheduled for a specific date and time via Google Calendar or a special free application Buffer for deferred publication. Finally, one of the most popular features - automatic tweets-reposts of statuses on Facebook - can be organized using this “recipe”. Photos posted on Flickr, you can also simultaneously repost on Twitter.

4. Free online
With the help of IFTTT, you can easily keep track of messages posted on various websites about free audio files, e-books, and all sorts of promotions. To receive email notifications about free tracks on iTunes, you can use this “recipe”, this combination is responsible for Amazon, and this one is for Last.FM. You can find out when a new product appears on the Kindle Top 1000 Free eBooks list of ebooks using this “recipe.”

5. Automatically download torrents in Dropbox
Fans of torrents will appreciate the original “recipe”, which allows you to automatically upload your favorite torrents to the “cloud” storage of Dropbox. To do this, you only need to send an IFTTT email with a link to the torrent file in the body. The only annoying circumstance is that the file size should not exceed 30 MB, that is, it will not be possible to download TV shows in this way, but books or magazines of a small size do not have problems. in its review proposes to pay special attention to the weather (apparently, our summer is rather discouraging).
Notification of rain or snow by SMS
Yes, SMS will be sent to Ukrainian and Russian numbers :) You just need to set your number in the format “00 country code operator code number” (without spaces) and indicate where you live. And, of course, choose a “recipe” for rain, snow, fog or sunny weather. You can even set a message to yourself. Everything is configured in a couple of clicks:

Svyatoslav Leontyev, a journalist from the Hi-Tech department of Vesti, tried IFTTT on Android and shares some observations.
“IFTTT allows you to create cool and unusual“ recipes ”. For example, it is possible to automatically change the wallpaper of the smartphone after each published picture on Instagram (or automatically change the background images to the most popular photos from collection sites). By combining the Android Location channel and Android SMS, you can, for example, automatically send a message to your wife every time you leave work (so that she starts cooking dinner or seeing off her lover). It is possible to turn on the sound of the phone via SMS with certain text (in case the phone fell somewhere while it was on silent). Service usage scenarios are virtually unlimited. ”

Irina Chernova, a columnist for, in her review advises not to be shy and change the “recipes” to suit your needs.
“To do this, add a“ recipe ”to your profile and click on the pencil icon to open the edit page.

The most important thing you should be aware of when editing “recipes” is the possibility of replacing services with their counterparts. For example, in the finished “rule” you can replace Dropbox with Box, Google Calendar with Outlook Calendar or Evernote with Onenote. ”

Every day new interesting recipes appear on the IFTTT. You can quickly find out about hot updates in the company's blog .


What is the result?

Enjoying life. Knowing the functions of various services and having enough ingenuity, you can create amazing combinations of triggers and actions - and get a result that looks like magic. IFTTT demonstrates the power of modern technology and open systems that can interact with each other and create synergy. The main thing, of course, is not to overdo it, because in the pursuit of simplification, it is possible to build such connections, which will then become even more difficult.

IFTTT can not only increase your productivity, but also perfectly pump the ability to find unexpected relationships between objects and phenomena, as well as give you ideas about how important it is to analyze workflows to achieve greater efficiency. And in order to increase your economic efficiency, the Banderolk will always help: with us you can leave a little more money in your wallet. Our service helps deliver gadgets, clothes, shoes and other things from the USA and Europe - there they are cheaper and appear faster than in Russia. And here's another nice bonus - a 7% discount on the first delivery with a Parcel Post after registering via this link .


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