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AOL's New Alto Client Is Visual Email, and You Don't Need a New Address 108

pigrabbitbear writes "AOL, still looking to reboot itself from the dialup days, is shooting to actually change the way we deal with email. The company's new service, called Alto, isn't a new email client. You don't have to sign up for yet another email address, because as David Temkin, AOL's senior VP of mail said, 'We need another email address like we need a hole in the head.' Instead, Alto, which is in limited release starting today, is designed to be an intelligent aggregator of the email accounts you already have."
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AOL's New Alto Client Is Visual Email, and You Don't Need a New Address

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  • It only works with AOL mail, gmail, Yahoo mail, and some ecloud stuff. Even if it worked with other email providers, it would just provide another way to screw up mail-gathering. I'll stick with what I have, thanks.
    • by Dan93 ( 222999 )
      Right now, I get all of the mail from my gmail account forwarded though my company mail server with no ads, so I'm not so sure if they will.
  • Terms of service? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lord Byron II ( 671689 ) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @05:10PM (#41698573)

    Well, since this means that you'll be reading your email through Alto, instead of through Gmail, it also means that you'll be seeing AOL ads and not Google ads. How long will it be until Google, Yahoo, and Apple change their API or terms of service to ban this?

    • Re:Terms of service? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @05:17PM (#41698653) Homepage Journal
      I'm not convinced Google would—after all, they already offer free POP and IMAP. As does Apple, and iCloud doesn't even have ads in it. (I think?)
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Not until it gains some popularity, which I don't see happening.

    • Er, they all explicitly allow IMAP. They are pretty happy to let to you use thunderbird and see no ads at all, why would they have a problem with this service?
      In fact I check my hotmail and yahoo email only though Gmail (I have asked Gmail to poll these accounts through IMAP). I have never logged into either of the accounts in years and have never viewed a single ad from them. They seem to be pretty happy about this setup, and have never complained.

      • by sconeu ( 64226 )

        Really? How can I get my Yahoo mail via IMAP? They're POP only (or at least the AT&T version is).

      • by Cinder6 ( 894572 )

        Actually, as far as I know, iCloud does work through Gmail, which is annoying. I've signed up for an Alto invitation. I've long wanted something to come along and challenge the quality of the Gmail web interface; maybe this is it?

        • iCloud does not support POP3, and gmail only supports POP3 (pretty sad, considering they were one of the first to offer IMAP access to their servers).

    • by Firehed ( 942385 )

      They still (autonomously) scan your email and use the data for targeted advertising. Nobody clicks the ads in gmail, but they certainly use the mail to target the ads you see on google searches. I'm sure that's why they don't charge for Exchange/IMAP/POP access.

      So... probably not an issue.

    • Google still get to read your email and sell that information to advertisers, which is more then enough to cover the costs of running gmail.

  • "You have spam!"

    A while back someone figured out how to spoof aol email and send stuff not just to your peeps, but to everyone cc'd on emails sent to you, like people 3 circles of friends away in joke forwardings.

    This seemed to clear up a few months ago. Easy to mock AOL (or Wndows for that matter) but I wouldn't wanna be the engineers in charge of fighting off motivated engineers from shitholes around the world.

  • by Genda ( 560240 ) <> on Thursday October 18, 2012 @05:16PM (#41698647) Journal

    Thunderbird or Outlook HOW?

    • by Hentes ( 2461350 )

      It's in the CLOUD, of course.

    • Thunderbird or Outlook HOW?

      It's new, and if Apple's dev cycle has taught us anything, it's that new always, always == BETTER!


      • ALWAYS!

        Windows 8 would like to have a word with you

        • ALWAYS!

          Windows 8 would like to have a word with you

          They're going to have to get in line; Wal-Mart already served me with a subpoena for infringing on their advertising copyright.

    • it's a web app, which at least makes it different. You can run it from anything with a compliant browser. (Though I think one of the five thousand things Microsoft calls 'Outlook' is one of those, too.) And it appears to have a rather neat implementation of what GMail calls 'labels' and what everyone else back in 1999 called 'virtual folders', which it calls 'stacks'. Aside from that, it appears a bit too early to tell.

  • .forward files don't cut it ?

    Sorry. Stupid.

  • oh this so reminds me of []

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @05:20PM (#41698683)

    >> of the email accounts you already have."

    Aha - a web-based email client.

  • by Genda ( 560240 ) <> on Thursday October 18, 2012 @05:26PM (#41698755) Journal

    Email clients today allow you to easily and effectively organize all of your email Addys in one UI, neatly broken out by Source and Content Folders. So I'm seeing Alto as a big fat question mark, except for the fact that AOL is now a company looking for a raison d'etre.

    So they're gonna aggregate everybody's email, suck out the interesting bits, grow huge amounts of data on millions of users... OH, now I see... they wanna be a PoBoy Facebook. Well why didn't you guys just come out and say "Hey we need a cup of data to stay alive, please give a starving corporation a break."

    Maybe y'all could invent a round thing to move heavy objects on.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, except Facebook sucks and a lot of people are starting to realise it. The reason everyone started using Facebook was so that they could stay in touch with friends more efficiently than via email. If this makes it as easy to stay in touch as Facebook is then I could see a lot of people switching services to avoid the massive torrent of advertising masquerading as updates.

  • The company's new service, called Alto, isn't a new email client.

    Alto, which is in limited release starting today, is designed to be an intelligent aggregator of the email accounts you already have.

    Sure as hell sounds like an email client to me.

  • Quoth, for instance: "Theyâ(TM)re like folders or labels, but managed through an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, and allowing users to decide that they want to make large swaths of their email bypass the main inbox entirely, to be saved in Stacks where they can be read later."

    So... like folders or labels, but with filters on them! You know, filters, like Thunderbird and gmail have both supported since basically the beginning of time?

  • by Psyko ( 69453 ) on Thursday October 18, 2012 @05:36PM (#41698907)

    AOL's 3 remaining customers are going to use a new application to aggregate their mail from services that already provide more functionality than AOL does in an attempt to show relevant value and usefulness. One of the 3 customers, known simply as "granma" was quoted as saying "Now I don't have to remember all those complicated things like gee mails and yahooie for when I need to tell my grandson that the guv'ment is going to start charging for email, or if I forward this message bill gates is going to give me a dollar!".

    Cool story, would read again, +1, +like & stuff. Need's more bitcoin.

    • by Myopic ( 18616 ) *

      Three users? Oh, so you are friends with my grandpa, grandma, and their neighbor Dorothy? Say hi to them for me!

  • Been doing that since mid-90's, how's this new?
  • I've got to say it's certainly an interesting enough of an idea and interface to make me at least give it a shot. This is the kind of stuff that AOL is going to need to do if they want to have any shot at getting back into the market instead of resting on their rears and hoping the seniors keep paying out to them for a 15 year old service.

  • by mattbee ( 17533 ) <> on Thursday October 18, 2012 @06:01PM (#41699153) Homepage

    I tried to request an invitation for my self-hosted address. "That email system is not supported". Thanks. So it's only for people that have more than one account on the above list apparently.

    • which basically means that they only care about stealing customers form Google, Yahoo, and Apple... and that they don't give a damn about you customer....

  • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <> on Thursday October 18, 2012 @06:20PM (#41699355) Homepage Journal

    Knowing AOL's prior shit security (Coach Account Access, anyone?) how long until this shit gets cracked and emails get stolen?

  • Once it gets it's teeth in you, it'll drag you under water, spin you around sharply to break your neck, then stuff you under the bank to tenderize for a while.

    What's that? OH, AGGERGATOR!!! Same advice really.

  • 'Alto' = 'Stop' in Spanish...
  • You know, the company that almost owned the Internet and (fortunately) screwed up big time.

    David Temkin, AOL's senior VP of mail said, 'We need another email address like we need another hole in the head.'

    There. Fixed it for him.

  • AOL is not to be trusted. They have engaged in massive spying operations for decades now.

    You'd have to be stupid to use this pathetic product.

  • I'm thinking of buying AOL, but have only one dollar bills in my pocket. Do you think they can make change? I'm not sure AOL is worth $1.00.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Yeah, not going to be supported even by MS soon; but that's beside the point. It's EMAIL, for cryin' out loud. It ought to work with Lynx, or by sending raw HTTP requests vial Telnet. Actually, POP3 itself is rasonably accessed via Telnet. Webified anything in a terminal is really not practical.

    In other words, all the Web 2 million.0 kewlness is the first strike against it.

    The 2nd strike is that it just introduces another point of failure. "Is my Yahoo mail server down or is AOL down?" is not a questio

  • by epp_b ( 944299 )
    It's an email client that can be configured with multiple accounts ... just like all the other ones.
  • The "auto image" display will mean that spammers can determine active email addresses. This goes away from the previous trend where images are only diplayed if you explicitly download so that spammers would have no idea if is a real email address or not.
  • Every single time, ever, that someone has told me that something would "change the way I work", it never has. Not once. Except in a case or two where it "changed the way I worked" by stopping me being able to work, and then eventually getting scrapped.

    And every single thing that *HAS* genuinely changed the way I work has come not from marketers telling me that would be so but by a stealthy, insidious insertion of something quite simple into my daily life and then one day realising I couldn't do without it

  • Visual email?

    As opposed to what? Voicemail? Braille-mail?

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI