Both services offer adding a row to a Google spreadsheet as an action to a recipe/zap. That much is obvious to most. I have largely made extensive use of that feature for logging data that is useful to me (e.g. exchange rates, contacts or weather forecasts). But it is also possible to insert formulae into cells in the new row created when the recipe/zap runs. This makes it possible to do some processing within the spreadsheet when a new row is added and then reference the result in the new row with a simple formula (e.g. =H$1, where cell H1 contains the result of your most recent computation). At the moment IFTTT doesn’t allow users to do anything with that information, but Zapier does. Zapier allows for a new row being created in a spreadsheet to trigger a zap. So a user could, for example, email or text the result of the latest computation to themselves when a new row is added.
In this way Google spreadsheets can form the link between a two stage recipe to zap or zap to zap combination.
I haven’t yet given a lot of thought to how this can be used since I cooked it up in my mind. So I have only begun to scratch the surface of this methodology. One simple use is a countdown timer: each day or week a new row is added to a spreadsheet, the sheet calculates how many days or weeks are left to a target, the result is pushed / texted and posted to a Google calendar. This is pretty mundane but the thing is it works.
Another use is with a weekly email with a list of names of students who are severely behind with their work. The gradebook I use is on a Google spreadsheet, it collects the list of names into one cell. I then use IFTTT to add a new row to the spreadsheet once a week – one cell in that row duplicates the cell with the names. A Zap is triggered by the new row and its action is to send out the list by email.
Here is the recipe
Here is the Zap
Here is a spreadsheet template