Creating automated workflows is about to get simpler for Microsoft and Google users thanks to software updates the two companies announced this week. Microsoft is adding a new offering for its enterprise users called Flow, while Google is introducing IFTTT support for its OnHub smart home router.
OnHub now supports IFTTT natively, while Flow is Microsoft's answer to the service for enterprise users. IFTTT, short for "If This, Then That," is a protocol for automating easy computing tasks. If you're waiting for an important email, for instance, you can create an IFTTT recipe to text or call your phone when it arrives.
If you own and OnHub, you can log in to your IFTTT.com account and add the OnHub channel, which will enable you to push IFTTT recipies to your router. Google suggests a lot of practical tasks you could enable, like being alerted via text when your child's phone connects to your Wi-Fi network after he or she comes home from school.
There are also some ideas on the border of whimsical and useful: you could program a smart LED lamp connected to your OnHub to change color when your Internet speed slows, for instance. Google says OnHub is the first home router to support IFTTT, and since it's also compatible with many other smart home devices, including Google's Nest thermostat, it represents a lot of potential for home-automation power users.
Microsoft's Flow, meanwhile, is aimed squarely at businesses frustrated by the relatively slower pace of enterprise software iterations, who want to create and maintain their own automated workflows for their cloud data. It's useful for things like compiling all the emails related to a major deal into a single folder, or importing data into CRM platforms like Salesforce.
The OnHub and Flow are offerings are available today, though Microsoft says Flow is in "preview" mode. If you're planning on taking advantage of them, check out our 110 best IFTTT recipes for inspiration.