Microsoft is updating its Teams platform with a bunch of new updates to help users “manage and plan” days amid the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the key updates that are coming to the Microsoft Teams includes free all-day audio and video calls with up to 300 participants. Additionally, the video conferencing platform now provides the option to start a personal chat or create a group chat with up to 250 people via Teams desktop and web apps. The announcement by Microsoft comes days after its rival, Zoom stated that the company would temporarily lift its 40-minute meeting limit on Thanksgiving Day.
In a blog post, Microsoft further added that Microsoft Teams web app and desktop users can now share video meeting invites with other users without Teams, similar to Zoom, Google Meet and Facebook Rooms. Desktop and web app users can now also see up to 49 members simultaneously in a gallery view or through the Together Mode. For users with multiple accounts, Teams desktop and web apps are getting the option to let professionals add their personal account and chat with or call their friends and family. “If you currently use the Teams desktop app at work, click on your profile picture on the top-right corner and select ‘Add personal account.’ Upon successful login, Teams will launch a new window containing your personal chats and groups so it’s easy to switch between your work and personal accounts,” the company added. Further, Microsoft is bringing support to upload and share photos and videos directly from a computer in any personal or group chat.
The aforementioned features are available in preview form on Microsoft Teams desktop and web apps, meaning the updates are still under development and might undergo changes before becoming available in the public release. To enable preview on Teams, select display picture > About >Public preview > Select Switch to Public preview.
Microsoft is also updating the Teams mobile app for Android and iOS with new features. Teams users can now text other users who are not on the video conferencing platform. “Simply type a contact’s name or phone number to add them to a group chat and, if they are not on Teams, they can receive and send replies to the group via SMS,” the company in the post said. However, the feature is currently available in preview form in the US and Canada, and more details are yet to be shared about its global availability. Additionally, the mobile app is also getting the option to let “your loved ones” receive automatic location alerts when you leave or arrive at a designated location. The Teams mobile app had added a location-sharing feature earlier this year. Apart from chat and location alerts, users can also add group events from chats to the smartphone’s native calendar, and add a photo to the personal Safe. As expected, these features are available in preview form on the Teams Android and iOS app.