Credit: Rob Schultz
A lot of Web services promise to make your life easier, but IFTTT--which stands for "If This, Then That"--is one of the few that actually does. It works by connecting various online and mobile services with triggers and reactions. When one thing happens (you receive an email with an attachment, you label a message), another thing will automatically happen (that attachment gets saved somewhere). These combinations of triggers and reactions are called Recipes, and they're freely available on IFTTT's Website.
Gmail is one of the Web services I use the most often, and I both love it and hate it. It's a great email tool, but too often my inbox is overloaded with important tasks, documents, and stuff I just really need to remember. I found several IFTTT recipes that promise to make using Gmail just a tad bit better. Here are a few of my favorites.
Find a lost phone
I lose my phone. A lot. And I don't have a landline to call it from, so tracking it down can be a challenge...or at least it was, until I found this IFTTT recipe, Help me find my lost phone. It sends a call to your lost phone when you use Gmail to send a message that includes #lostphone. To activate it, you'll need to connect IFTTT's call channel and connect IFTTT to your Gmail account. The phone call doesn't arrive instantly--there was a lag of just about a minute in my tests. And if your ringer is off, you may be out of luck, depending on just how lost your phone is. But if you're looking for a simple way to find a lost phone, this recipe is for you.
Save emails for later
I've never been a huge fan of using labels in Gmail, but IFTTT is going a long way toward convincing me that I may have been wrong.
This Recipe, for example, makes it super easy to save a Gmail message as a note in Evernote. It requires connecting the Evernote Channel in IFTTT and then labeling any emails you'd like saved.
The default label suggested is "Evernote" but you can change it if you'd like. It automatically creates a notebook in Evernote--with the slightly unwieldy name of "Emails labeled Evernote"--and places the messages in there. The format would best be described as basic, and you certainly wouldn't call it beautiful, but the messages are readable and easy to access.
Reminders when you need them
I get a lot of emails containing info about tasks I need to follow up on, things I need to do, and just general stuff I need to remember. Sometimes, it's all too easy to forget about these things as soon as I close Gmail. That's why I was intrigued by this Recipe that promised to add reminders in iOS about emails I simply star in Gmail. Unfortunately, that Recipe never worked correctly for me--using it was not as simple as I'd hoped.
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