Join 3,382 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


If This, Then That
May 3, 2011 1:01 PM   Subscribe

If This, Then That [beta] allows you to designate trigger actions in one corner of the cloud based on events in another. In addition to popular websites like Facebook, Craiglist, and Twitter, IfTTT links email, SMS, and telephone (full list of current services here) in any configuration.
posted by Rykey (77 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
Like so many other fabulous things, I don't know what I'll use it for, but I like the idea.
posted by Theta States at 1:06 PM on May 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Interesting but it's a closed beta so not much to do with it.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:07 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sounds great, but the beta is invite only.
posted by muckster at 1:08 PM on May 3, 2011


You can get with this, or you can get with that.
posted by Senator at 1:10 PM on May 3, 2011 [13 favorites]


I got an invite very quickly, and I'm nobody, so I'm hoping they'll keep collecting people.
posted by Rykey at 1:13 PM on May 3, 2011


Just remembered that this sounds a bit like yahoo pipes.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:13 PM on May 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


If I structure my online life with this and then the doors shutter in a year and a half, where will I be?
posted by dave78981 at 1:14 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I too am suffering a lack of imagination; I can't see what I'd do with this. I know, if I get a message or mention on Twitter, my phone alerts me. Or if I get an email, my phone tells me. Or even better if someone calls me, my phone tells me. Either I'm missing something fundamental, or the creators of If This Then That don't know about developments in the smart phone field over the past three years.
posted by Keith Talent at 1:15 PM on May 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Signed up for the beta, how does it work? Does Craigslist have a PubSub type service in place that it uses? Does it scrape a feed a la pipes?

As a platform you could probably sell a service that txts people when a new apartment listing pops up.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:16 PM on May 3, 2011


What could possibly go wrong?
posted by motty at 1:16 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hmm, this could be applied to the financial sector for safe and effective trading with no negative consequences.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:18 PM on May 3, 2011 [10 favorites]


I'm betting ten minutes until the first "If I tweet something then post it to facebook status; if I facebook status, then tweet it; loop.
posted by mikepop at 1:18 PM on May 3, 2011 [10 favorites]


Dump a torrent if you don't tweet a certain phrase to #wikileaks every week.
posted by adipocere at 1:19 PM on May 3, 2011 [19 favorites]


This could be a great tool for pranks...
posted by dave78981 at 1:20 PM on May 3, 2011


I really want an invite, is this a suitably public square for me to begin begging within?
posted by Shit Parade at 1:21 PM on May 3, 2011


IF Google News search has hits for my obituary, THEN launch the daemon that will bankrupt several multinational conglomerates.

Seriously good book, and not a week has gone by since I read it a few months ago that something on Metafilter has reminded me of it. We're living in the future!
posted by backseatpilot at 1:23 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is just what I needed to build that spam bomb.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:25 PM on May 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


If my account at Delta Dental is removed then Paypal $1000 to Lisa's orthadontist.
posted by bondcliff at 1:26 PM on May 3, 2011


who's going to be the first to test "If something posted to twitter, then post something to twitter."?
posted by seanyboy at 1:27 PM on May 3, 2011


This is just what I needed to build that spam bomb.

Knew I could count on you guys!
posted by Rykey at 1:27 PM on May 3, 2011


This is why metafilter needs an API, how am I going to make it text me whenever I get a favorite.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:27 PM on May 3, 2011 [9 favorites]


This is why metafilter needs an API, how am I going to make it text me whenever I get a favorite.

Because that's exactly what my internet addiction needs right now. Real-time alerts.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:29 PM on May 3, 2011


I do feel that a realtime feedback loops connecting social networks is exactly the kind of step needed for spontaneous AI to emerge.
posted by Shit Parade at 1:32 PM on May 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Because that's exactly what my internet addiction needs right now. Real-time alerts.

Post #3672790 by thsmchnekllsfascists has been flagged!

By user: 53052
Reason: Noise.
posted by clearly at 1:34 PM on May 3, 2011


I do feel that a realtime feedback loops connecting social networks is exactly the kind of step needed for spontaneous AI to emerge.

If by spontaneous AI, you mean instant targeted marketing, sure.
posted by clearly at 1:36 PM on May 3, 2011


No realtime feedback loops between social networks here; it says it only checks for new data every 15 minutes. Way too slow for much in the way of emergent properties, I would think.

I can see how it would be handy, though. Seems like the beginnings of a very high-level web programming language.
posted by echo target at 1:38 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


if I get an invite then I'll probably sign up and then forget about it.
posted by dirtdirt at 1:38 PM on May 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


It seems like a neat idea, but what are the practical applications?
posted by geoffr at 1:43 PM on May 3, 2011


I would like to know how this is different than Yahoo! Pipes.
posted by sciurus at 1:48 PM on May 3, 2011


I've made a few Yahoo Pipes over the years, but it's a bit of a technical process. This sounds (from the home page, anyway) like it's supposed to be more user-friendly. Think Yahoo Pipes with natural language and predefined hooks for popular sites.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 1:51 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Time to recurse the hell out of the internet.
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:54 PM on May 3, 2011


echo target: No realtime feedback loops between social networks here; it says it only checks for new data every 15 minutes. Way too slow for much in the way of emergent properties, I would think.
Why is time necessary for the emergent property of AI? If our neurons fired at 15 minute intervals, we'd still be conscious/alive (but of course, we couldn't interact with or understand the world).

I mean, for all we know, a consciousness/AI has already emerged among all the computers of the internet, with neurons as packets, connections, and data transfers... but without sensory input that we understand, or languages that we can communicate, we'd not know it was there or even recognize it as such. Dude.

If I want to keep my job, then put down the bong and get back to work.
posted by hincandenza at 1:55 PM on May 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is this the thing where my fridge emails me when it's out of acid? I mean milk
posted by yoHighness at 1:55 PM on May 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


so, basically, if I work hard enough setting this up... once I die my fb posts and tweets will go on forever.... immortality, finally!
posted by tomswift at 2:00 PM on May 3, 2011


" with neurons as packets,"... I read that as "pickles", and it actually made more sense...
posted by tomswift at 2:01 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Think Yahoo Pipes with natural language and predefined hooks for popular sites.

MacOS Finder Applescript applied across the internet.
posted by hippybear at 2:12 PM on May 3, 2011


If I am killed delete my profiles then recursively delete my profile.
posted by Nanukthedog at 2:20 PM on May 3, 2011


I'm glad that I'm not the only one who can't quite figure out what this would be for. It's really neat, but it seems like a shiny I don't need. Until someone says "You do *this* with it" and suddenly it seems indispensable. Story of the internet.
posted by stoneweaver at 2:21 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


So far I see:

* Big ol' Terms of Service
* Big ol' Privacy Policy
* Breathless blog post with rockstar picture of founders
* GIANT FONTS

Forgive me if I don't rush to give you my email address.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:23 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Clouds have corners?
posted by ardgedee at 2:33 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would like to know how this is different than Yahoo! Pipes.

It looks a whole lot simpler. Pipes is powerful but I never was able to get it to do exactly what I wanted. This might do less but do it better.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 2:44 PM on May 3, 2011


if quonsar masturbates then kill a kitten.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 2:50 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Things I can see using this for (if I am imagining it right):
* If friend A tweets/facebooks a link, then add a bookmark in a folder called "Friend A"
* If I get tagged in a photo on Facebook, then automatically un-tag it
* If there is a craigslist post for or , then send an email expressing "dibs"
* If I tweet "Pizza party tonight @ my house, BYOB", then order some pizza

posted by aganders3 at 3:00 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whoa, real life colliding with internet life. I happen to know ifttt's founders so if anyone wants an invite code or has any burning questions, memail me with your email address and I'll forward the request on.
posted by superquail at 3:00 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


if quonsar masturbates then kill a kitten.

Warning: account has exceeded its bandwidth limits.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:20 PM on May 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


This is simple on the level of email rules in Outlook. Simpler, actually. I imagine I might find some uses for it.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:41 PM on May 3, 2011


Took me a few hours from beta sign-up to invitation.
posted by zippy at 3:42 PM on May 3, 2011


Perhaps the ultimate troll automation engine?
posted by sammyo at 3:43 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


i have five invitations left. PM me.
posted by Señor Pantalones at 3:45 PM on May 3, 2011


If that guy (he knows who he is) replies NO U, reply NO U.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:45 PM on May 3, 2011


I would like to know how this is different than Yahoo! Pipes.

Not tied to a sinking ship? Doesn't have that vague sense of doom about it?
posted by JHarris at 3:50 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


IF I get a mention on Twitter THEN drive past the tweeter's house, late at night, glancing wistfully at their house, until crush fades
posted by benzenedream at 4:05 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm in, got 5 invites. First thing I set up: if I upload a photo to Flickr tagged "twitter," tweet it with the title as text and the Flickr-shortened URL. Hadn't found an elegant way to do that before.

Then I got baffled by the possibilities/ran out of ideas.
posted by muckster at 4:13 PM on May 3, 2011


Much easier than pipes, btw.
posted by muckster at 4:13 PM on May 3, 2011


The ifttt guys made a special mefite invitation, because they love us, so if anyone else wants a beta account, go to this sign up page and enter the code "metafilter".
posted by superquail at 4:16 PM on May 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


If I favorite a tweet with a link, it gets sent to Instapaper to read later.
posted by muckster at 4:22 PM on May 3, 2011


Has anyone seen my kitten?
posted by inigo2 at 4:29 PM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


for the "what is this for" folks:

so far it's not insanely useful except for two things:

1. a recurring craigslist search i run to see if something i want shows up locally
2. auto-tweet my photos i upload with tag "twitter" on flickr to twitter

i see people being able to have immense fun with the date & time module though
posted by Señor Pantalones at 4:36 PM on May 3, 2011


Yet more proof that the sophistication of a communications system is inversely proportional to the value of the data it carries.
posted by joannemullen at 4:49 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yay - I just set one up and it worked. Here's a spider in a party hat to celebrate.
posted by youngergirl44 at 4:59 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Going to have some fun with this. Set the flickr/twitter thing up; thinking about what else to do with it.
posted by flippant at 5:05 PM on May 3, 2011


Is the website down for anyone else?
posted by blargerz at 5:28 PM on May 3, 2011


I'm enjoying playing around with it, but I'm hoping they'll get much more refined with the capabilities. It mainly seems useful for cross-posting/switchboard at the moment.
posted by sciurus at 5:49 PM on May 3, 2011


Thanks for the metafilter invitations, superquail.

I'm not that fond of providing a 3rd party with my login data, so I won't be trying out most of the channels, I guess. Bet I bet you could do a lot of cool stuff with "Phone Call" and "SMS".
posted by Foci for Analysis at 6:15 PM on May 3, 2011


I got an account. There's a weather module, so right now I have it set to text me when it's raining. (I motorcycle to work when I can, so I like to know when I can take the bike and when I have to bus.)

Unfortunately, the weather module only does the current weather, so it's not really any more valuable than... looking out the window. What I'd really like is alerts based on the forecast for the next 12-24 hours: "hey, watch out, it's going to rain soon".

I submitted a suggestion with the feedback form and got a personal reply from one of the devs within a few hours, which was nice. I don't have much use for all the social network plugins, but this seems nifty. I'm excited to see what they add next.
posted by aaronbeekay at 6:32 PM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Finally, a way to automate all those "Twitter is down again!" posts to Facebook!
posted by markkraft at 9:36 PM on May 3, 2011


There's a complicated filter I've wanted for a while that I just asked the devs about - a "water the garden" reminder If the last M days had no rain and this alert hasn't fired in N days (and maybe the temperature's been above X), then tell me to water the garden already. I don't like every N days alerts, because if it rains, for a couple weeks, I don't need the reminder, and once it stops, I forget.
posted by lorimt at 10:53 PM on May 3, 2011


Yet more proof that the sophistication of a communications system is inversely proportional to the value of the data it carries.

WATSON COME HERE I WANT TO SEE U LOL
posted by dubold at 2:00 AM on May 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


I like how most of the responses here are "I like this, but I don't see how I would use it" for two reasons.

1) This is very (very very) basic programming. Most people say they don't need to be able to program their phones/computers/websites. And yet now we like the idea.

2) Yes, I can't imagine any potential way you could benefit from implementing your own plans/algorithms/data massaging/ideas rather than someone else.

Program or be programmed, people.
posted by DU at 4:53 AM on May 4, 2011


Can you use it to trigger trigger warnings?
posted by Eideteker at 5:38 AM on May 4, 2011


I'm not that fond of providing a 3rd party with my login data

All of the channels I've turned on so far use OAuth. So you're not.
posted by yerfatma at 7:26 AM on May 4, 2011


aaronbeekay, I remember seeing some app or single-serving site a while ago that could text you to let you know if it was going to rain. (something about "do I need an umbrella"?) I think I even used for a bit, wish I could remember why I stopped.
posted by epersonae at 8:16 AM on May 4, 2011


ah, here we go: Umbrella Today?
posted by epersonae at 8:18 AM on May 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Too bad you can't set alerts for "between this time and that time on these days." That would be most useful for me. Though the email->SMS thing is kinda cool.
posted by bikergirl at 11:03 AM on May 4, 2011


I set one up. This thing is really cool! So far I am using it to crosspot from Dreamwidth (a LJ fork site) to Wordpress - previously I could only do it the other way around, but since all my comments are to DW and I only use WP as a searchable archive/place to link to in the blogosphere where LJ forks get no respect, this was not ideal.

I also set it up to watch some group blogs I follow for posts by a certain author, and
posted by subdee at 5:09 PM on May 4, 2011


(Damnit I didn't hit "submit"!)

...and send just those posts to my RSS reader. These are oldschol group blogs that don't allow you to subscribe by author, they only have text bylines.

If I was still reading fanfic I could watch delicious or AO3 for my favorite rare pairing and get email alerts or the stories saved for later.

Right now I'm trying to figure out what to do with the Posterous like, "email files to IFTTT and we will host them for you and publish the link on the platform of your choosing" feature.

Any, fun! Thanks superquail!

My suggestion would be for an action to DELETE all posts with a certain tag or with certain keywords. Like what if you want to delete all those casual game (Farmville etc) updates to your Facebook or twitter feed, or put a timer on "the next five people to respond get X" posts. With IFTTT you seem to be able to add to the cruft of the internet, but not subtract from it.
posted by subdee at 5:22 PM on May 4, 2011


Subdee hits on a good point, and one that speaks to the "...So what do I DO with this?!" sentiments: it might be useful to think of IfTTT as "duct tape" between previously impossible cross-platform tasks, at least for now. Yeah, there's other duct tape out there, but this is SHINY duct tape that patches specific (if a little obscure) leaks.

I hope IfTTT comes into its own a little more once it's out of beta (and judging by the responses the suggestions from me and others have gotten from their admins--really quick and receptive--I'm betting it will), but so far I'm enjoying it.
posted by Rykey at 7:04 AM on May 5, 2011


« Older With the death of Osama Bin Laden having re-opened...  |  On the 29th January 1942 the f... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments