IFTTT adds a channel for Amazon Echo

A new automation channel for Amazon's smart speaker further solidifies its smart home ambitions.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Amazon's continuing to position its voice-activated smart speaker well within the Internet of Things, with a new Amazon Echo channel on IFTTT, the popular online automation service.

IFTTT (short for "if this, then that") allows users to create free automated "recipes" that link web tools, social networks, and smart home gadgetry. A recipe could automatically cross post your Instagram shots to Tumblr, or turn on a web-connected outlet whenever you tweet a specific hashtag. With Echo in the picture, you'll be able trigger recipes simply by talking to the virtual assistant Alexa, Amazon's answer to Siri and Cortana.

At launch, your options are somewhat limited, with triggers (the "if this" part of IFTTT recipes) focused solely around Alexa's ability to manage to-do lists and shopping. That might signal an effort by Amazon to get Echo's users to start shopping with the device a little more. The recent rollout of Amazon Dash smart home grocery buttons makes it clear that Amazon sees big potential in bringing shopping smarts into the connected home.

The specific triggers are:

  • Ask what's on your To Do List
  • Item added to your To Do List
  • Item completed on your To Do List
  • Item edited on your To Do List
  • Item deleted from your To Do List
  • Ask what's on your Shopping List
  • Item added to your Shopping List
  • Item completed on your Shopping List
  • Item edited on your Shopping List
  • Item deleted on your Shopping List
Examples of IFTTT recipes triggered by Alexa. IFTTT

Currently, there are no triggers that deal with Alexa's ability to stream music from the Amazon Prime Music library, or with Echo's recent Belkin WeMo and Philips Hue smart home integrations. There also aren't any actions (the "then that" part of IFTTT recipes) for Echo, which means that you can't trigger it using other devices, apps, or services.

At least some of that seems likely to change before too long, with Amazon calling the IFTTT launch, "a first step forward," and promising further IFTTT functionality in the near future.

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