I have been aware of the IFTTT service (if this then that) for quite a long time. But only until recently when the iOS app for IFTTT surfaced as top apps I decided to put it into good use.

IFTTT: Put the internet to work for you.

What Do I Need IFTTT For?

There is no doubt that IFTTT can do a lot of things. I am mainly using it to backup my online presence, such as my tweets and my Facebook updates. More over, as I check-in many favorite places on Foursquare, it is good to gather them in one place, for example an Evernote notebook.

How To Use It?

There are few simple concepts in IFTTT. Channels are the web services that are supported in IFTTT. Currently more than 70 channels are supported. Triggers are conditions that are provided by the channels. Actions are things you can perform on the connected channels. A recipe is a piece of an IFTTT rule that defines the actions when a certain trigger is on. Defining IFTTT recipes are as simple as clicking a few mouse buttons, or even simply, you can just use recipes created by others.


Besides my initial reluctance to adopt new things in my daily routines, one concern that makes me hesitate in using IFTTT is the concern for privacy. Once you enable a channel, almost all of your information are accessible by IFTTT, if they want. For example, if you have connected your Evernote account, they will be able to read and write every single one of your notes. There is no privacy between you and the IFTTT team at all. You have to trust them not abusing your data.

So why have I changed my mind now? It is because I now believe in the philosophy that there is no privacy in an online environment. If you have not heard this famous (and controversial) quote by Google’s Eric Schmidt, here is it again:

If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.

One Complaint

I have tweeted about a bug in the IFTTT system. When your recipe contains characters that are not supported (in my case they are the Unicode braces 【】), it is possible that the content of the notes being created are not what you want. The developers at IFTTT has acknowledged it and are working on it. Hope this can be fixed soon.