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Grow Your Business Technology

What is IFTTT?

What is IFTTT?

IFTTT, pronounced like "gift" without the "g," is a Web service and mobile app that uses the Internet to turn your favorite apps, websites and other Web channels into an automation powerhouse.

The acronym stands for "If This, Then That," where "This" is a trigger and "That" is an action (simply put, if "This" happens, then it triggers "That" to happen also). Together, these two linked events give users what's called a "recipe" to produce desired results. Using IFTTT recipes, users can connect their social media accounts, mobile apps, storage providers and other supported Web channels to automate tasks instead of spending hours logging in to individual services and performing each task.

To use IFTTT, users can create their own recipes or choose from existing recipes created by other users. Want the Weather app to automatically text you when it's about to rain outside? There's a recipe for that. How about a system that automatically saves email attachments, notes, contacts and other important information into your Evernote or Dropbox account? There's a recipe for that — and hundreds of other timesaving automation tasks, too.

If you'd rather create your own recipes, however, IFTTT makes it very simple to do so. To create a recipe, choose which channel will be your "this" trigger and which channel will be your "that" action. Throughout the process, IFTTT will gather information, known as "ingredients," and guide you step-by-step to complete the recipe.

For instance, say, if every time you publish a blog post, then it will be posted to your Twitter account. First, choose the Feed channel as your "this" trigger, then select "New feed item." IFTTT will ask you to add an ingredient by inputting your blog feed URL. Next, choose Twitter as your "that" action, then select "Post a tweet." Add an ingredient by formatting the structure of your tweet. Then, activate the recipe and all of your future blog posts will be automatically tweeted out to your Twitter followers.

IFTTT is a set-it-and-forget-it automation tool. Once you create and activate a recipe, the service works behind the scenes without any additional work required from you. You can also turn recipes on and off, and edit and share them with the IFTTT community.

Note that in order to use IFTTT, you will need to give the service permission to access your account for each channel you want to integrate into your recipes. In the example above, you will need to give IFTTT permission to post tweets on your behalf.

IFTTT currently supports about 70 channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Etsy, Feedly Foursquare, LinkedIn, SoundCloud, Wordpress, YouTube and more. IFTTT is also available as an iPhone app that integrates with iOS Contacts, iOS Photos and iOS Reminders.

IFTTT was launched in 2010 and has been recognized as one of the best apps by several tech publications. Its slogan is "Put the Internet to work for you."

Follow Sara Angeles on Twitter @sara_angeles or Google+. Follow us on Twitter @BNDarticles, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.

Sara Angeles

Sara is a tech writer with a background in business and marketing. After graduating from UC Irvine, she worked as a copywriter and blogger for nonprofit organizations, tech labs and lifestyle companies. She started freelancing in 2009 and joined Business News Daily in 2013. Follow Sara Angeles on Twitter @sara_angeles.

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