AOL has launched a new cloud-based email client called Alto and it manages to achieve the seemingly impossible: it makes email look kinda... pretty.
This isn't a new email service. Rather, it's a web-based client that can be used by anyone with an AOL, Gmail, Yahoo or iCloud account. You simply log in using your existing email account, and the client works its magic on your inbox.
It takes a very graphical approach to email, picking out images embedded in messages to make the whole set-up more pleasing on the eye. It's an interesting concept, and the client certainly has some clever features.
For instance, Alto automatically creates stacks for daily deal, retail and social networking site notification emails, instead of having them all clutter your inbox separately. Click on a stack, and you see one of three views: message view (obvious), tile view (to see everything at a glance), or page view (which lets you flip through email full-screen, page-by-page).
You can merge email accounts in Alto -- like you can on your phone -- and, as a result, search multiple email accounts at once, which is handy. There are a few other nice little features, too: you can "snooze" emails so they pop back up to the top of you inbox later in the day, and there's some simple Google Calendar and Drive integration.
Neat ideas, but it remains to be see just how well they'll work in practice. The best way to establish that, of course, is to try it out, and you can request an ivatation to use the client now on the Alto website. [Alto]