The Internet connection and automation service IFTTT is launching on Android today, and it offers a deeper set of integrations with the OS than their iOS offering. This, of course, is due to Android’s more laissez-faire attitude when it comes to allowing apps to extend their tentacles into core OS functions.
If you’re unfamiliar with IFTTT or what it does, we’ve covered it a ton because it’s really useful. It allows you to hook together various internet services and mobile OS components to create recipes that do things for you automatically. Mixing and matching these components can lead to some pretty clever and time-saving tools.
The arrival of IFTTT on Android comes after a longish period of waiting, during which the company acknowledged that it was coming several times, but each time noting that it wouldn’t be just yet. I asked CEO and co-founder Linden Tibbets whether that was due to technical barriers or a matter of resources available to get an app they liked out of the door.
“Really a matter of resources,” he said. “There are many people, especially here in Silicon Valley that are “Apple/iOS passionate” developers. It’s much harder to find someone with the same level of passion for Android, though that is quickly changing. We really lucked out and found Jordan Beck who lives and breathes Android!”
Perhaps (somewhat ironically) thanks to Apple’s right turn in design language last year, the app itself fits in well with IFTTT’s overall aesthetic, mating up nicely with the iOS 7-friendly version for iPhone and iPad. I’ve been playing with it on the Nexus 5 and it scales up to a larger screen pretty handily. All of the major functions of IFTTT are there, with a few additional treats because Android is more permissive in general.
“Android apps have much deeper access to device level functions like volume, WiFi, and wallpaper images. You can also do really cool things around your phone call and SMS logs,” says Tibbets. He notes that you can finally send an SMS as yourself, rather than to a friend from an impersonal ‘IFTTT’ sender as you do on iOS. “Android also gives developers a number of useful hooks, called intents, that allow for running a process in the background right after an event happens, like taking a photo. Overall, this means much faster Recipes for Android specific Channels,” he adds.
The major Android-specific channels include ‘Device’, which allows access to triggers based on connecting or disconnecting from WiFi networks and actions like setting wallpaper or ringer volume based on those conditions. There are also location, notification, phone call, photo and SMS channels, each with their own set of OS tendrils and possibilities.
Sending a text to your wife when you leave work, for instance, allows you to attach your name directly to a text to a loved one, rather than from an impersonal service. Here’s an interesting one that turns all of your Phillips Hue lights into Red Alert mode when you miss a call, and another one that appeals to me that sends an SMS back to a person leaving a voicemail letting them know you don’t check your inbox.
The Android version of IFTTT looks like a nice addition to the stable of apps and the Web presence, with the additional benefit of getting a glimpse of what IFTTT is able to do on mobile with a bit more freedom. You can snag the app here.