Cloud storage services such as Google Drive and Dropbox are endlessly useful. Not only can they be used to make your files accessible on multiple computers, they also serve as handy backup tools. Using IFTTT (If This Then That), it’s possible to double-secure your files by automatically copying files between different online storage services
Files in the Cloud
If you have yet to use IFTTT, you are in for something of a treat. This is a tool that can be used to trigger all manner of online actions when certain conditions are met. The possibilities are wide-ranging and IFTTT is compatible with a huge number of familiar online services including Facebook, Dropbox, Instagram, Flickr and many, many more.
We have already mentioned that IFTTT could be used as a form of online backup tool, and by this we mean that it can be used to replace one or more of the desktop clients that are used with cloud storage services.
You may be using Dropbox as a home for photos and other documents. This not only means that the files can be accessed on any computer with an internet connection, but also that any files that are added to the Dropbox folder on your computer are automatically backed up in the cloud.
How you choose to use Dropbox and other services of its ilk is entirely up to you, but many people are using it as a backup tool. But just as with offline backups, it is a good idea to create multiple online backups, and this is where IFTTT can help.
Sure, there is nothing to stop you from installing the desktop software for Google Drive, Dropbox, SugarSync and various others so you can upload files to more than one location, but while this helps you to achieve your double backup aim, it also means having more than one resource-sapping sync tool installed at the same time.
IFTTT can take care of the online backup process for you without the need for extra software. You can create a rule – or a recipe as they are known – which will automatically ensure that any files you upload to Dropbox will also be uploaded to Google Docs.
Pay a visit to the IFTTT website and create a new account or sign into one you already have. You will first need to setup the ‘this’ part of your backup recipe, so click the Create link at the top of the page and then click ‘this’.
We will start with Dropbox, so click the Dropbox icon to select this as the Trigger Channel. If this is the first time you have used IFTTT or the Dropbox channel specifically, click the Activate button.
You will then need to give IFTTT permission to communicate with your Dropbox account, so sign into your account and click Allow followed by Done.
Click ‘Continue to the next step’ to set up the Trigger. In the case of Dropbox there are two to choose from – the uploading of any file to your account, or the uploading of images files to your account. As we are looking to create as complete a backup solution as possible, we are going to select the ‘New file in your Public folder’ option.
If you want to limit the files that are synced between Dropbox and Google Drive you can specify a sub-folder of your Public folder to be monitored – either enter the name of a folder and click Create Trigger, or just click the same button to continue if you want to back up everything in your Public folder.
Now we are ready to create the ‘that’ part if the recipe – the final action of syncing files to Google Drive – so click the ‘that’ link.
Just as with the ‘this’ trigger, you now need to choose the channel in which the action should be performed. Click the Google Drive icon and Activate the channel and grant IFTTT access in the same way as before.
The next thing to do is to specify precisely what action should be performed. As this is supposed to be a backup recipe, we are going to click the ‘Upload files from URL’ option. We can then choose how files should be named and where they should be uploaded before clicking Create Action.
The final step is to name and save your recipe. Enter a meaningful name to help you identify the recipe later on – although IFTTT’s simple icon system helps a lot in this department – and click Create Recipe.
From this point on, whenever you upload a file to the public folder of your Dropbox account, it will also be uploaded to Google Drive for you. You can now uninstall the Google Drive software if you want – it is unnecessary, as all of your backing up and syncing will be taken care of server-side.
How have you made use of IFTTT? Do you have any great recipes you would like to share?
Mark Wilson is a software fiend and a fan of the new, shiny and intriguing. Never afraid to get his hands dirty with some full-scale geekery, he’s always trying out the latest apps, hacks and tweaks. He can be found on Twitter.
- Published 02/5/13