...or bike, or stroller, or roller skate, or little tiny dog back pack. Basically anything that will hold a phone. Here's how.

You may have read about Mercedes' new feature that integrates your car with some home automation devices such as the Nest thermostat. (If not, read about it now!)http://jalopnik.com/what-its-like-...

The reason for this is that Nest recently opened up their architecture to hundreds of developers, letting them have a go at expanding the functionality of the device by pushing the boundaries of its particular form of automation. Mercedes, though, aren't the only ones getting in on the action.

Welcome to...

Get Mercedes' brand new feature for FREE in ANY car....

IFTTT (like "gift") stands for "IF This Then That". That phrase means that a condition is established ("if this") and when that condition is met, an action takes place ("then that"). The website facilitates all sorts of "if this then that" commands using so called "recipes" that you can customize to your particular application or else just activate and start using right away.

Get Mercedes' brand new feature for FREE in ANY car....

These recipes link all sorts of sites (twitter, facebook, dropbox, etc.), devices (iPhones, androids, Nest, WeMo, Hue, etc.) and device features (tracking, motion sensing, SMS, etc.) as well as information from the web (weather and RSS are big ones) to act as triggers and actions as illustrated above. Pretty simple stuff in theory, but still really cool. And hopefully you can see where this is going.

Or at least where it's already been, because with the app avaialable for Apple devices or Android devices allowing you to establish all sort of conditions that take advantage of your device's inherent features (think location), you may not need to shell out the dough for a Mercedes to have these features if, say, walking is more your style.

So while I did not purchase a brand spanking new Mercedes, my Nest still knows when I'm on the way home and to go ahead and chill things off a bit. And unlike the Mercedes that does the same thing, the app is, well, FREE.

Get Mercedes' brand new feature for FREE in ANY car....

While the Nest might be the big example discussed so far, IFTTT recipes can also be written or activated on the site or in the app to control Phillips Hue lights, WeMo power adapters, facebook and twitter post, and many many many other things. Like these...

Get Mercedes' brand new feature for FREE in ANY car....

...and these...

Get Mercedes' brand new feature for FREE in ANY car....

...and oh so many more.

So I ask: can your Mercedes text your honey and tell him or her that you've left the office? And when you pull in the driveway, can the Merc turn on the Hue lights in your garage? When you come in the door, does the Merc turn on that lamp right by your favorite reading chair? Does the Merc set your Hue lighting to a color that matches the tone of the music you're listening to? Does the Merc text you and your neighbors when it's on fire!? I didn't think so. (I mean, maybe it does. It costs like $100K - I don't really know).

Of course, there's more than just location based recipes (as noted above), and it's not just limited to what you can do with your phone. IFTTT can also tell your connected devices and certain sites to all talk amongst each other.

For instance, let's say you have a Nest Protect fire alarm and Phillips Hue lights. If the Protect detects an issue, IFTTT can trigger your house lights to flash (perhaps waking you or alerting a passerby that things are not right), and even send a text to alert you and your neighbors.

Say you have plants. Just plug a small water pump into a WeMo adapter and run a recipe in IFTTT that tells the WeMo to turn the pump on for a short period if the weather report doesn't predict any rain for that day.

IFTTT can even get you out of a meeting! Just send a text message to IFTTT with the tag #HELP, and an IFTTT computer will call your phone and play a message, scripted by you and read by an IFTTT computer, thus getting you out of that horrible meeting.

Get Mercedes' brand new feature for FREE in ANY car....

IFTTT.com If you're not one of the many who already know about and love this, then go check it out. And save your money for the Hue lights.