AOL launches Alto cloud-based mail, aggregates Gmail and others

The service automatically pulls out and organizes important content in folders

AOL offered a limited preview Thursday of a new cloud-based email service that sorts content automatically to help combat "inbox fatigue" and doesn't force users to get a new address.

Getting users to change email provider is no mean feat, but AOL is hoping to do that with its Alto by making it easier for them to keep track of all their emails. Alto uses something called stacks to do that.

The stacks automatically pull out and organize important content from a user's inbox, and collects them in folders that are presented on the opening page.

For example, all photos that users send and receive through any of their email accounts are automatically sorted into a dedicated photo stack, allowing users to more easily find long buried photos or instantly see new ones as they arrive. The photos can also be sorted by sender, date, and inbox, or shared right from Alto to Facebook or Twitter, according to AOL.

Besides photos, Alto has pre-loaded stacks for attachments, and social notifications, retailers and daily deals. Users can also drag and drop individual emails to create their own stacks based on for example senders, recipients and key words, AOL said.

Alto doesn't require users to go through the hassle of getting a new email address -- users can simply reuse credentials for their Gmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL Mail, or .Mac address.

For now, Alto is only available in limited preview, accepting new users on a first come, first serve basis. Users can apply at the altomail.com website.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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