Fastcompany reports that AOL has a new webmail client “Alto” that changes how email is read and received.
Alto is divided into two main windows: a streamlined column of mail that matters, and a grid of tiles for navigating leftover inbox clutter. In Alto, many messages and files are automatically and neatly aggregated into tiles of common categories: for photos, attachments, social, daily deals, and retail.
In many ways this seems similar to Gmail tabs, where mail is automatically classified by ‘type’ and moved out of the central inbox with other mail of similar types.
The interesting thing about Alto, is that is works with non-AOL addresses. I’m guessing it connects through IMAP, but there aren’t enough details. This is a smart way of doing things, AOL gets to control the interface, but users can still use other email addresses.
I think we’re going to see more and more innovations in email clients in the coming years. What we have now is basically the same as we had 15 years ago, with very little change or improvement, despite massive changes to how people use email.
Should be interesting to see what happens.