New IFTTT compatibility boosts Amazon Echo’s usefulness–and weirdness
By Pulkit Chandna
TechHiveMay 4, 2015 9:20 am PDT
You know that a smart-home device or platform has arrived when it get its own IFTTT (IF This Then That) channel. Amazon’s Echo interactive speaker (or, more accurately, the interactive speaker’s built-in virtual assistant Alexa) has joined that fairly exclusive club.
Launched last week, the Amazon Alexa Channel on IFTTT currently has over 100 recipes, all of which revolve around Echo’s to-do and shopping lists. There are recipes that allow you to send these lists to yourself via email, add them to third-party services, set reminders and receive notifications about them, and so on.
For instance, there’s a recipe that automatically adds whatever new item you put on your Echo shopping list to iOS Reminders, while another saves deleted to-do items in a document in Google Drive. There’s another which—for some odd reason known only to its creator—toggles your LIFX smart bulb on/off whenever you quiz Alexa as to the contents of your shopping list. Basically, sky’s the limit as you can get Alexa to interact with 117 different devices and services.
“Many of you have asked to use Amazon Echo and IFTTT together and, today, we’re taking the first step forward – you can now create IFTTT recipes using Echo’s Shopping and To-do Lists,” Amazon wrote in an email to Echo owners Friday, promising more IFTTT triggers in the future.
Why this matters: If you were lucky enough to buy cloud-enabled Amazon Echo back when it first became available in November, you may have found it severely lacking in features but brimming with promise. Five months, an SDK, and an IFTTT channel later, the interactive cylinder is well and truly on its way to realizing its potential.