If you’ve read our Complete guide to Google Home, you’ll know that Google Home and Google Assistant are very powerful tools that help you to get stuff done just by talking to your assistant. You can control your smart speakers, smart lights, smart locks, and even control your TV using your Google Assistant.
But what if you want to push it to its limits? That’s where IFTTT comes in. It stands for ‘If This Then That’ and it’s a service that lets users set, and customise rules for all sorts of tasks. In this article, we’re just going to focus on how IFTTT can help you get more out of your Google Assistant, but there’s so much more it can do. Find out more at ifttt.com.
The first thing you’ll need to do is download the app for your phone and set up an account - it only takes a couple of minutes. Click the links below to download the app for Android or iOS.
You’ll already have a Google account if you use either Google Assistant, or a Google Home device, so it makes sense to register with Google.
Scroll right until you see ‘Get started with IFTTT’ and tap Sign in with Google (or Sign in with Facebook if you prefer).
If you see ‘Open with Chrome’, tap Just this once or Always if you don’t want to see this again.
Choose the Account you want to sign in with.
That’s it, you’re registered and you’ll see a few recommended ‘Applets’ - we’ll explain what these are next.
To put it simply, an Applet connects two or more apps together to let you do something that neither app would be able to do on its own. These can be set up based on all sorts of different situations, you can make your own Applets or just turn on one of the hundreds that have been created by other users.
The ‘Call my device’ Applet is one of the most popular ones. If you often find yourself frantically looking for your phone on the way out of the house, then this one’s definitely for you.
All you need to do when you can’t find your phone is say to any of your Google Home devices “OK Google, find my phone”, and your phone will ring. It’s as simple as that!
For this to work, you’ll need to make sure the Applet is turned on through the IFTTT app on your phone.
It’s also worth noting that this Applet won’t turn the ringtone volume up on your phone, so if it’s on vibrate you might not hear it. But if you have an Android phone, you can add an Applet that lets you ask Google to turn the volume up on your phone. In the next section, we’ll show you how to make custom Applets - whether you’re on Android or iOS.
Applets are made up of two main parts - if this happens, do that.
The ‘this’ part is the thing that triggers the Applet to do something and there are hundreds of things you can use as a trigger. With Google Assistant, the trigger is usually a specific question that you’ve asked.
We’re going to make an Applet that lets you turn all of your smart lights off by telling Google ‘It's bedtime’.
Tap My Applets at the bottom-right.
Tap the + at the top-right, then tap this.
Start typing ‘Google’ and you’ll see matching services appear at the top.
Tap Google Assistant.
You can choose from four different ‘triggers’ ranging from a simple phrase to something more complicated. We just want to set the volume to maximum, so choose Say a simple phrase.
You can add up to three different ways you might say your phrase, or just stick with one if you want. Type your phrase (for example, 'It's bedtime') then scroll down to the bottom.
Next, type the response you’d like from your Assistant.
When you’re happy with your trigger phrases and the response, tap Create trigger.
Tap that, then start typing ‘Hue’.
Choose Philips Hue.
If you haven’t linked IFTTT to this app before, you’ll need to tap Connect to give permission for IFTTT to access it.
Sign in to your Hue account, or choose Create and account if you haven’t set one up yet.
Tap Yes to confirm that you want to link IFTTT to your Hue account.
There are lots of things you can control but we want to choose Turn off lights.
Choose which lights you want to turn off and tap Create action.
You’ll see a preview of your Applet, if you’re happy with it, tap Finish.
Now, when you say ‘Ok Google, it’s bedtime’, your Assistant will respond with ‘Ok, night night’, and turn off your Philips Hue lights.
To turn an Applet on or off, just go to My Applets, tap the one you want, and tap the switch to turn it on or off.
IFTTT is huge, and there are hundreds of apps that it connects to. So whether you want to get the most out of your Google Assistant, or you just want your phone to automatically switch to silent when you go to the cinema, there’s bound to be an Applet for you.
Hopefully, that’s helped you to understand how you can really put your Google Assistant to work using IFTTT. If you’d like help with anything else, you can contact one of our Team Knowhow experts here.