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March 31, 2017

Want to use Slack from your email client? Alto Mail is adding some ‘good hacks’

by John_A

Why it matters to you

AOL’s Alto Mail email client will now incorporate a series of

AOL’s Alto Mail is about to get a whole lot smarter. The company has announced that the email client will now incorporate a series of “hacks” that can help enhance the email experience for users.

Alto already scans emails for things like flight reservations and package deliveries so it can help surface that information if and when you need it. Alto surfaces that new information in two ways — through the Alto Dashboard and through what Alto is calling “Alto Stacks.”  Alto is now looking into ways to incorporate that information into other apps — like Slack and AppleTV.

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Already, Alto’s information shows up in the Alto Dashboard, which basically gives a single view across all inboxes and surfaces important information in “cards.” With the Slack “hack,” however, users could add a Slack channel as a “stack” inside of Alto, so all your conversations will be in the same place. On the Apple TV, you could bring in things like images from Alto — which would authenticate through a QR code on your Apple TV.

Last but not least is Shop/Book Again, which helps you buy an item again through services like Amazon — straight from Alto. You could also check out your entire shopping history in Alto, and resurface past purchases when you need them. That’s pretty helpful for items that are bought regularly — like diapers, if you’re a parent.

The hacks themselves don’t feature in Alto just yet — but they’re the kind of thing that will start showing up in Alto in the future.

You can also ask Alexa in Amazon’s Echo or Echo Dot for information in your Alto Dashboard. Asking questions like “when is my next flight” will pull results from the Dashboard on the app. You can also ask a more general “what’s in my Dashboard,” to get an overview for the more important emails in Alto.

A few other third-party integrations Alto offers are quite neat. The app will automatically detect which ridesharing service you use, and for cards like flights, you’ll be able to request a car straight from the app. These interactions and integrations aren’t restricted to third parties — the idea is that eventually, you’ll be able to check in for a flight straight from the Dashboard itself.

The team says more third-party integrations from services like IFTTT are on the way.

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“We’re looking at anything that makes sense right now,” Rose said. “A great example is receipts — what we want to do is if you need to file expenses, it would be super simple just to be able to tap that overflow menu. We’re looking at Expensify, we’re looking at Concur, and just across the board, what are all the things we can do.”

You can get Alto for yourself on iOS and Android apps now, and it’s also accessible on the web.

Updated on 03-30-2017 by Christian de Looper: Added news of Alto “hacks.”

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