AOL has unveiled a web-based email client called Alto that appears to be much more refined from what we have seen from AOL in the past. Instead of having to create a new email address, users will be allowed to log into the service with their existing email addresses from GMAIL, Yahoo, AOL, and even Apple’s iCloud accounts and can just use alto as a means to help facilitate email correspondence and organization. Alto will not provide you with yet another email address. Instead, it will pull in your existing previously mentioned accounts into one central location and sort email into prioritized stacks. Alto can handle up to five accounts per user. Alto is now available as a limited preview, and is accepting new users on a first come, first served basis.
Many email users, today, may have their inbox in a clutter maelstrom and AOL is looking to help solve that with Alto by allowing users to simply drag and drop individual messages to build their own stacks based on sender, recipients, keywords, or other factors. It will also automatically create stacks for photos, attachments, and reminders. Those photos can be sorted by sender, date, and inbox. Alto will also have integration with Facebook and Twitter which will also users to share photos to their social network accounts right from Alto. Those social networks along with Linked In will be integrated into Alto to allow users to see their latest updates to people on their contact’s list, or search in real-time for results categorized by matching emails, contacts, photos, and attachments. The attachments section will provide thumbnails previews of documents and other attachments.
[spoiler]AOL Releases Alto for Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, AOL Mail & .Mac
New cloud-based email application uses smart stacks to bring visual relief to overloaded inboxes
Palo Alto, California, October 18, 2012 — AOL Inc., the company that originally brought email to the mass market, is opening the doors today on a limited preview for their new cloud-based email product, Alto. Designed to be used with existing email accounts, including Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, AOL Mail, .Mac and .me accounts, this new, free email platform reimagines the email experience from the ground up with a focus on combatting inbox fatigue. Alto blends powerful organizational features and an elegant, clear user experience to provide users with visual relief from inboxes overloaded with a constant flow of daily deals, newsletters, social notifications, and more. The ultimate goal of Alto is to put the user back in control of their email experience.
The basis for this new product is ‘organization by design,’ using a new tool called “stacks” that automatically pull out and organize important pieces of a user’s inbox for easy access and quick viewing. Users can also drag and drop individual emails to create their own stacks based on sender, recipients, key words, and more. Alto does not require a new email address – users can simply enter credentials for their Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, AOL Mail, or .Mac address and start using Alto. Alto also allows users to bring together and access multiple email accounts to organize all of their inboxes in a single, web-accessible workspace.
“We built Alto for people who believe, as we do, that organization is beautiful, who are overloaded with email and aren’t happy with the status quo of existing email experiences,” said Joshua Ramirez, Senior Director of Product for AOL Mail. “The way we use email has changed radically over the years, but the core email application experience hasn’t. We’ve taken a deep look at how people use email now, and designed an application around that reality.”
“When you sort through physical mail, you put it into stacks because it’s a natural way to decide what’s important, what’s junk, and what to save for later. We wanted to recreate that experience with Alto, but make it intelligent and automatic, to easily deal with the hundreds of emails we get every day,” continued Ramirez.
Alto provides users with a visual story of their email inboxes using a variety of innovative features designed to make it easy to sort through and find what is really important. Some key features include:
Stacks – Alto automatically creates stacks, giving users an easy, intelligent, and dynamic way to deal with inbox clutter. These stacks are built around the important pieces of a user’s email, are intuitively designed, and simple to use.
Alto is pre-loaded with stacks built to automatically surface photos, attachments, and social notifications, retailers and daily deals
Users can drag and drop emails to create customized stacks that automatically update as new emails arrive in each stack.
Photos – All photos that users send and receive through any of their email accounts are automatically sorted into a dedicated photo stack. Users can easily look through long buried photos or instantly see new ones as they arrive. Photos can be sorted by sender, date, and inbox, or shared right from Alto to Facebook or Twitter.
Attachments – Email attachments are automatically added to their own stack letting users sort through documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and PDF’s. With thumbnail previews of full documents and presentations, there’s no more scanning through endless message lists hunting for paper clips. Users can even view these documents from within Alto – no downloading or additional applications are needed.
People – Individual contacts are shown with rich information allowing you to see previous email exchanges, photos, and attachments. Users can also connect Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to automatically see the latest social updates of their contacts and people they have in common.
Search – Alto gives users a real-time visual search experience, providing a faster and more contextual way to let users find exactly what they need. As users search, they’ll see instant results categorized by matching emails, contacts, photos, and attachments.
Daily Deals and Retailers – Alto automatically sorts your daily deal emails and specials from retailers into their own stacks. Different views from within stacks allow for seamless window shopping, letting users page through their stacks of retail offers or quickly sort through the junk and get to great deals. Turn on ‘skip the inbox’ and stacks clear these emails out of your message list leaving room for what matters.
Ramirez concluded “Alto brings together some truly fresh thinking about online communication with the depth of experience that you’d expect from the company that’s been offering consumer email longer than anyone else in the market.”
Alto is available in limited preview today, accepting new users on a first come, first serve basis. New users can sign up for a free account at www.altomail.com.[/spoiler]