AOL wants to clean up your inbox

Tired of inbox fatigue? AOL thinks it has an answer.
Written by Tyler Falk, Contributor

Remember when AOL brought to mind email and the phrase "You've got mail"? The phrase got old quickly, but, for me, the excitement of getting an email remained for a long time. At least until emails from daily deal sites, companies wanting to make sure I remember they exist, and listservs I don't remember signing up for (does the unsubscribe button actually work for anyone else?) started piling up. AOL feels our inbox fatigue and wants to take us back to the days when sorting through email wasn't such a headache. (And, no, you don't have to get a new email address.)

So how exactly does AOL plan to take us back to that magical place where you don't dread opening your inbox? Through an email product called Alto. The main compenent of this new email platform is known as "stacks," or according to AOL, "a digital manifestation of the process you go through when sorting your physical mail." This tool will automatically organize your email into categories, (deals, social media, family, for example). You can also use multiple emails with the service, bringing all your email into a single workspace.

The product is free and can be used with your existing Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, AOL Mail, .Mac and .me accounts.

"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."

The AOL Blog breaks it down into three important things that Alto does:

  1. Makes it easy to find things you're looking for.
  2. Cleans out your inbox so non-critical messages can wait until later without clogging up your message list.
  3. Resurfaces awesome things (like old photos) that you haven't seen in years because they were lost in the midst of all your old emails.

Daniel Terdiman, at our sister-site CNET dives into the details of new product.

AOL has without a doubt tackled a problem for anyone with an email account: email design just isn't good. If Alto is able to deliver the way AOL says it does, this could be a gamechanger for the company and email as we know it. People are itching for a happier inbox. Will this product be the answer?

You can request an invitation to the beta version here.

Image: AOL

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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