In brief: Microsoft is finally launching Teams for everyone. Users were allowed to test a preview build since November 2020, but only now has Microsoft launched the app to the wider public, providing them with yet another mean to communicate with family and friends. However, now that Teams has officially released for personal use, what will happen to Skype?
The past year has seen the explosion of communication apps like Zoom, Slack, Skype, Teams, Discord and many others as people have had to keep physical interactions to a minimum.
To further help people communicate with their loved ones, last year Microsoft launched a preview of Teams meant for personal use. This preview build included personal features such as free “all day” video and voice calling. Seven months have passed since then, and Microsoft is finally ready to release it to the general public.
The latest update to Microsoft Teams comes with a slew of features to make calls more fun, convenient and engaging. One of those features is ‘Together mode’, which allows the participants to choose a virtual environment such as a coffee place, a living room, or a resort.
Other attractive features are the addition of live emoji reactions and GIFs, inviting people through email and phone number to a chat room, chatting via SMS messaging, shared task lists, group polls, and personal dashboards.
Those using Teams as a work tool and want to use it as a personal communication app will have their accounts separate, preventing users from mixing life and work matters. Files, contacts, chats, and other account information is kept on each respective account. To switch between accounts, users just have to click on the profile icon located at the top of the app and select the account they wish to change.
Teams users can make 1-on-1 calls with a duration of up to 24 hours for free. Groups with up to 100 participants are also allowed to make free calls, but only for as much as 60 minutes. However, Microsoft decided to support 24-hour long calls with up to 300 users for a limited time.
With the update, Teams has basically become another Skype in Microsoft’s software portfolio. We already know that Skype for Business is closing down in a few months, but there’s no word about the future of the original consumer app. Merging both is a likely possibility, but Microsoft can always choose another course of action.
Those interested can download Microsoft Teams here for a variety of operating systems including Android, iOS and Windows. If you rather skip the download and jump straight into it, the Teams webpage offers a web application.