Inbox overload is a common problem, but AOL is looking to help solve that with its new cloud-based email service, dubbed Alto.
Alto will not provide you with yet another email address. Instead, it will pull in your existing accounts - Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, .Mac, and .me - into one central location and sort email into prioritized stacks.
"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," Joshua Ramirez, senior director of product for AOL Mail, said in a statement. "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."
Alto uses a new feature called "stacks" to automatically organize important mail for easy access and quick viewing. Users simply drag and drop individual messages to build their own stacks based on sender, recipients, keywords, or other factors.
Alto will automatically create stacks for photos, attachments, and daily deals and reminders. Photos can be sorted by sender, date, and inbox, or shared right from Alto to Facebook or Twitter, AOL said. The attachments section will provide thumbnails previews of docs and attachments. If you don't want those deals to clutter your view, meanwhile, you can turn on a "skip the inbox" feature.
Connect Alto to your favorite social network (Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn), and automatically see your contacts' latest updates, or search in real time for results categorized by matching emails, contacts, photos, and attachments.
Alto is now available as a limited preview, and is accepting new users on a first come, first served basis.
In Aug. 2010, Google introduced a similar feature in Gmail called Priority Inbox, which automatically filters incoming Gmail messages to place the most important messages up top, followed by starred e-mails, and then everything else underneath. Last year, Google unveiled the service for the mobile Web.
Copyright © 2010 Ziff Davis Publishing Holdings Inc