Have you heard of "If This, Then That" (IFTTT)? It's an online service that connects all of your various apps and smart gadgets. Think of it like this: Imagine your weather app speaks French, but your Nest thermostat speaks Spanish. IFTTT can translate what the weather app is saying ("It's 62 degrees outside") and use it to speak a command in the Nest's native language ("Turn on the heat").
That weather-app-to-Nest command is called a "recipe," and it's one of probably like a million on the IFTTT site. (The apps and products that a recipe connects – Nest, Instagram, Evernote, email, the weather – are called "channels.") Once you sign up for an IFTTT account and connect some of your favorite channels, all you need to do is find a recipe you like and click "add."
The recipes are created by IFTTT and its users to automate all kinds of connections between the services and things you use everyday inside your home, in your car or at work.
Here are a few of my favorites, the ones I use personally and the ones that stand out to me as proof that we're living in the future. Once you're signed in with an account on IFTTT, you can click on the links below to go straight to that recipe's page and add it to your arsenal.
For Your Home
- If the temperature drops below a certain degree, set your Nest thermostat to a certain temperature (here's one for the opposite)
- Get a smartphone alert when a package's shipping status changes (iOS, Android)
- If it's the end of the month, send me a reminder about rent
- Turn on lights when the sun sets
- Print a note to an HP printer
- Get a notification if there's rain tomorrow
- Get an email to a video clip when motion is detected on a Manything video
- Set up a reminder if your plants are thirsty (iOS, email)
- Turn on Nest when your car comes home
- Email yourself #ilostmyphone to turn your Android's volume all the way up
- Send new Instagram photos to your parents via email
- More home channels: Nest Thermostat / Nest Protect / Belkin WeMo Switch / Belkin WeMo Lighting / Belkin WeMo Motion / Phillips Hue / Fitbit
- Track what time kids turn off their light switch
- Track when your kids leave their school zone
- Time for bed! Blink Hue lights
- Call me if the liquor cabinet opens
- Get notified of a new top post on /r/dadjokes
- Send yourself a phone call to get out of a meeting
- Post a daily reminder to a slack channel
- Save starred emails to Evernote
- Log your driving trips in Evernote
- Mark an email with the "Dropbox" label to save a PDF to Dropbox
- Mute my Android device during meetings on my calendar
- More work channels: Gmail / Google Calendar
- Get emails for new posts from any Craigslist search
- Send an email whenever Amazon adds a new free ebook to their top 100
- More shopping channels: Craigslist / eBay / Etsy
Want to discover more? See a full list of IFTTT channels right here.