AOL Launches Alto, Its New Take On Web-Based EmailBy: Chris Crum - October 18, 2012
AOL has released a new email product built to work with Gmail, Yahoo, .Mac and AOL Mail accounts. It’s called Alto.
“It’s inspired by postal mail, where you sort your mail into stacks (bills, letters, junk mail, etc.); this does the same thing with your email inbox,” a spokesperson for the company tells WebProNews. “The new product is focused on addressing email overload through automatic organization and a new type of mail interface.”
It’s a cloud-based email client, which the company says “reimagines the email experience from the ground up with a focus on combatting inbox fatigue through automatic organization and clean design to provide visual relief.”
With Alto, you don’t get a new email address. You just use it to access your other ones all from one place using a web browser. You don’t need an @aol.com address.
“The way we use email has changed radically over the years, but the core email application experience hasn’t,” says Senior Director of Product for AOL Mail, Josh Ramirez. “We’ve taken a deep look at how people use email now, and designed an application around that reality.”
As mentioned, it’s all about “stacks”.
Stacks will automatically pull out your emails you want and show you info you want to see. You can deal with the non-essential stacks later, AOL says. You can drag any message to create a stack, based on senders, recipients, subject line or anything else. They’ll automatically pull out old messages as well as new ones and across all your accounts and folders.
You can send retail offers or daily straight into stacks to keep your inbox organized, and you can look at all your offers and deals later from one place, and you’re “ready for some window shopping,” as AOL puts it.
All photos sent and received through any email accounts are automatically sorted into a dedicated photo stack. They can be sorted by sender, date, inbox, and shared to Facebook or Twitter right from Alto.
You can add LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook credentials, so Alto can draw from these sources for your contacts. It will pull out information like title, work experience, recent status updates and tweets, and people with who you share connections on those services. It will also show recent messages, photos and attachments between you and the contact.
There is also a visual search experience, which provides users with a way to find instant, real-time results for matching emails, contacts, photos and attachments.
Alto is now available in limited preview (an invite-only beta). You can request an invite here.
This is the second major email-related launch we’ve seen from AOL in recent months. In late July, the company redesigned its flagship mail product. Read our conversation with AOL’s David Temkin about that and the evolution of email here.