There are multiple applications that work with IFTTT and Google Home, covering everything from adding items to your Tesco shopping basket to turning on and off lights and other smart gadgets around the home, dictating a text message or email to a specific contact, and even triggering electric shocks through Pavlok – we’ll get on to that one in a minute.
Before you begin building your own IFTTT applets you need to understand that the commands you give Google Home can be broken down into various ingredients that might include simple phrases, numbers and text. Simple phrases will always result in the same outcome, though when they are included numbers and text ingredients are able to alter the end result.
Here are some examples of each:
Simple phrase: “Okay Google, zap Michael”
Phrase with number: “Okay Google, zap Michael at 7am”
Phrase with text ingredient: “Okay Google, text Michael ‘I’m on way home’”
Phrase with text ingredient and number: “Okay Google, text Michael ‘I’m on my way home’ at ‘6pm’”
When creating these commands in IFTTT you should replace the number part of the message with the hash sign (#), and the text ingredient with the dollar sign ($). So, these same commands become:
Simple phrase: “Okay Google, zap Michael”
Phrase with number: “Okay Google, zap Michael at #”
Phrase with text ingredient: “Okay Google, text Michael $”
Phrase with text ingredient and number: “Okay Google, text Michael $ at #”
How to use Google Home with IFTTT
We’ve already explained how you can use IFTTT to send a text message, but for this walkthrough we’re going to do something a bit simpler and also more fun (read mean). You’re unlikely to use this exact walkthrough, but it’s a simple example that will show you the various steps you need to follow, which you can then apply to any other app in IFTTT.
If you haven’t heard of Pavlok, it’s a band you wear around your arm that uses electric shock therapy to train you to avoid bad habits such as oversleeping or smoking. (Read more about Pavlok here.)
Here we’ll explain how to set up a IFTTT applet that will allow you to zap someone who is wearing a Pavlok band, simply by giving Google Home that instruction. If you like, you can also specify an exact time at which the zapping will take place by adding a number to the command.
1. Download the free IFTTT app from Google Play or the App Store. You’ll need to sign in via Facebook, Google or create an account using your email account.
2. Some applets are already available for Google Assistant, which you’ll be able to find on the Search tab. However, it’s often easier to create your own, which will then satisfy the exact need you have. Select the My Applets tab at the bottom, then tap the tick sign at the top right of the screen. Now select the blue link that says ‘+this’ and scroll down to and choose Google Assistant.
3. IFTTT gives you four options. If you want to create a command that returns exactly the same result every time you can choose ‘Say a simple phrase’. But as we explained earlier there are also options to include numbers and/or text ingredients that can alter the outcome.
Let’s keep things simple: select “Say a simple phrase”.
4. In the top field enter the exact command you want to give Google in order for it to return the results you expect. You don’t need to include the “Okay Google” part of the command, so just enter “zap Michael” or words to that effect. In the two fields below you can specify alternative commands, such as “shock Michael” or “electrocute Michael”.
The bottom field lets you add a response that Google Assistant will speak aloud to let you know it has successfully carried out that command, for example “My pleasure.” This can be left blank if you prefer.
5. Tap the tick icon at the top of the screen, then choose the blue link ‘+that’. Now choose the app associated with the task you want to be completed. In our case, we need to select Pavlok.
6. Next you’ll need to select an action. Pavlok offers four – vibrate, zap, beep or LED – so we’ll choose zap.
7. You’ll need to give Google permission to access your Pavlok account, so click Connect and then sign into the associated account. (Note that this is only going to work if you know their account details, which is probably a good thing as we don’t really recommend you start electrocuting family members to pass the time.) Authorise the integration when prompted.
8. Next set the zap intensity to Low, Medium or High. We’re only having a giggle so we’ll stick with Low. You can’t leave the field ‘Why do you want to be zapped’ blank, so we just entered “you were naughty”. Then tap the tick icon at the top right of the screen.
9. IFTTT will show you a summary of your applet. Disable the option to receive notifications when this applet runs (unless you want to be bombarded), then select Finish.