Google Assistant Update Disrupts IFTTT Automation Features
Popular automation platform IFTTT has alerted Google Assistant users that its current integration with the voice assistant will stop working at the end of the month. Google’s updates will require users to manually update and reconnect their apps to IFTTT, and some features are not coming back, at least for now.
IFTTT Google Assistant
IFTTT, which stands for If This Then That, has enabled automated routines and app integration with Google Assistant for several years. The platform had curated dozens of workflows and triggers to streamline interactions and control smart home devices in that time. Those will cease to function on Aug. 31. Though IFTTT has built a new version of the Google Assistant services ahead of time, they will have to be manually activated as there isn’t a way to simply switch from the existing system to the new one after the updates. On top of the new setup, some of the features will be more complicated to activate or will no longer be available. For instance, the existing custom commands mimicking first-party Google Assistant controls will now require an extra trigger. IFTT’s example shows a switch from “OK Google, Blink the Lights” to “OK Google, activate Blink the Lights. The authentication option available on IFTTT’s website or mobile apps will be limited to mobile devices and need to be activated in the Works with Google part of the Google Home App. There are also some features that will simply vanish, for which IFTTT apologized to developers. The post explains how to recreate the available features as seen in the image above but even takes the time to explain how the vanishing IFTTT features can be reproduced with Alexa and other voice assistants.
“Unfortunately, custom Google Assistant responses to the trigger phrases that have been setup by users through IFTTT are no longer supported. Existing Google Assistant triggers that allow for variable input (example: Say a phrase with a number) will no longer be supported,” IFTTT explained in its announcement. “Like you, the people on our team were also early adopters of the existing Google Assistant service on IFTTT and still use it daily for turning on lights and music in our homes. Google Assistant Applets were one of those early magical experiences that hinted at the massive potential that voice interfaces and smart homes still have. Millions of people have connected Google Assistant to IFTTT and enabled thousands of Applets, ranging from funny party tricks to helping increase accessibility within their smart home. We would like to extend our apologies for the inconveniences this upcoming change may bring.”
Google hasn’t specifically mentioned the reason for rolling out an update that would impact IFTTT this way. The fact that IFTTT in its announcement, cites Made by Google as the Twitter account to reach out to is suggestive, however. IFTTT was a major, even critical element in helping people install and grow comfortable with smart home devices. Google has stepped up its direct smart home connections in the years since then, which may make IFTTT an accidental casualty of Google’s plans. The initial response from developers learning of the update has included plenty of annoyance and frustration, even suspicion that cutting IFTTT’s legs out from under it was the point. Like IFTTT, developers are blaming Made by Google for the problem, as encapsulated by Google Assistant Google Developer Expert (GDE) and Two Voice Devs podcast co-host Allen Firstenburg below.
This seriously bums me out.
Before the @ActionsOnGoogle APIs were released, I had used IFTTT to “program” my Assistant to change slides for me and did a presentation on the topic.
Time for me to re-focus, I guess.
— Allen “Prisoner” Firstenberg (@afirstenberg) August 2, 2022