Here's what the Outlook.com inbox looks like. Like in Windows Phone, you can customize the color of the Metro UI. (Credit: Screenshot by John Chan/CNET Asia)Microsoft has launched a new email service that shares the name of its famed email software, Outlook. Outlook.com is accessible as a preview now, and anyone can sign up for an account. If you already have a Hotmail or Live email address, you can convert that to an Outlook.com address in the settings now. The old Hotmail/Live address remains active--users will still get mail sent to the old addresses--unless you explicitly choose to delete it. The interface is based on Metro, the user interface you see in Windows Phone and the upcoming Windows 8. This means you get a clean, uncluttered design and simple icons familiar to anyone who has used aNokia Lumia smartphone. Microsoft is not requiring everyone that has a Hotmail account to switch to the new address, but it seems the plan is to eventually have everyone move over. ZDNet's Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley believes thatthe company will eventually pull the plug on Hotmail.com. The new Outlook logo. (Credit: Microsoft)Like many email clients, you get a list of folders on the left navigation bar. What's interesting is the Quick Views dropdown below the folders, which lets you filter certain kinds of email. By default, it filters emails with documents or photos, flagged messages and those that give you shipping updates. That last one will be useful for those who frequently shop online and are always expecting packages. These categories can be customized to suit your needs. With Outlook.com, you can also turn on a reading pane that lets you read the message either below or on the right of the email list. As a security measure, it shows a blank message by default, and not the first one in your inbox--you have to explicitly click on a message to show it, reducing the risk of being exposed to malicious emails by accident. On the far right is an advertisement column. This shows a random selection, unlike Gmail, which uses targeted ads based on the content of your email messages. To find out more about the features and design of Outlook.com, read Kent German's review on CNET. To try it out yourself, just visit www.outlook.com and sign up for an account, or simply switch your current Hotmail/Live email to an Outlook.com one.