Ella Sorts E-Mail by Example

By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2003-04-28

Microsoft Outlook users looking to regain control of their in-boxes may want to take a look at Ella, an e-mail organizer that filters mail by example. The $30 Outlook plug-in was released earlier this month by Open Field Software, and a 15-day free trial edition is available online.

Rather than relying on rules and lists, Ella learns how users organize messages, based on behavior, and automatically sorts e-mail into three customizable categories—for example, Inbox, Later and Spam.

Using the training assistant (see screen), I provided examples of how certain types of e-mail should be classified so that the plug-ins adaptive learning engine could start sorting my mail.

The program uses what Open Field Software calls high- performance associative memory technology, which observes user examples and then creates, updates and maintains a message classification model unique to each individual.

Installation of the plug-in is simple enough for end users of all levels. Ella deftly filtered my spam-laden in-box and quickly figured out what types of mail I deemed important. Some work-related messages from editors and vendors were filtered into my Ella spam folder on the first day, but that was to be expected as the software learned my usage patterns. (And it was not necessarily such a bad thing.)

Ella supports Outlook XP and Outlook 2000 running on the Windows XP, 2000, 98 and ME operating systems, connected to a Microsoft Exchange or POP3 mail server.

Ella Pro, which will include support for IBMs Lotus Notes, will be released in the second half of the year.

For more information, go to www.openfieldsoftware.com.

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