October 15, 2011, 8:09 AM — Last week, I told you about a great new service called "If This Then That" (IFTTT), which lets you automate things online. I also gave instructions on how to post on Google+ via email.
Together, these let you automatically post things to Google+. But I didn't tell you how, exactly. I announced a "contest" to see who could come up with the most useful and fun Google+ automations using IFTTT.
If you're as lazy as I am, you'll be thrilled to learn that once created, these automations -- called "recipes" -- can be shared and easily re-used by anybody. And I'll share the winning contest entries with you below.
But first, let's take a look at what this automating Google+ thing is all about.
There are two basic directions for automating Google+: incoming and outgoing. To automate is to set it up so that things are put in or taken out automatically, without you having to do anything.
How to automate Google+ output
A nicely curated list of those options is maintained by a Google+ user and advocate named Johnathan Chung.
The most common options happen to be browser plug-ins, and there are many to choose from for all the major browsers.
You can also automate output via RSS. This is a simple process of plugging in the RSS feed URL for your public Google+ posts to just about any service or site that accepts RSS.
For example, I publish an email newsletter using a service called MailChimp. You can set up MailChimp to take any RSS feed and publish new content in that feed as an automated newsletter. So I publish my Google+ posts as both a daily and a weekly newsletter.
Once I set it up, it required no further action on my part. I just post things on Google+, and my thousands of readers get a newsletter via email, complete with pictures and links.