Microsoft Teams update makes online interaction more personal

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Online collaboration spaces like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have all but become permanent staples of our lives amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and in light of this they’ve all been striving to make working from home easier and less headache-inducingly surreal. Microsoft Teams has now added a bunch of new features aimed at making its in-app experience more personal.

Microsoft Teams gets personal

Microsoft Teams together mode

Image: Microsoft

Microsoft announced a slew of updates to Teams’ online call and group chat functions on desktop, web, and mobile. Firstly, in an attempt to recreate family gatherings and nights out with the squad, Microsoft is making “Together mode” a key feature of Teams’ online calls.

Together mode changes up the layout of an online call, adding in a snazzy background like a coffee shop, beach resort or even the ocean floor, and positioning callers around a table or perching them on rocks and coral outcrops. While it might not eliminate the headache of video calling entirely, it’ll certainly make it more entertaining.

Teams calls are also getting live emoji reactions to give them “more emotions and personality”. Finally, unlike most online collaborate calls, in-call text chats will also be saved so you can come back to them later, to finalise plans or remember something someone said after the call has already ended.

The new features added to Microsoft Teams’ chat feature are pretty nifty too. You can now add people to a Teams group chat by just sharing a link to them, and they don’t even have to download the app to contribute to the conversation. They’ll receive notifications on chat updates and be able to reply via SMS.

In group chats any member of the group can create tasks on a to-do list, sync calendars, and even create polls when a group decision has to be made. What’s more is you can turn a particular message directly into a to-do list task. So if someone points out on your family group that you’re out of peanut butter, you can select the message and create a task out of it.

They’re all convenient new features, and while they may not succeed in making things feel like they’re all back to normal, they certainly make coordinating your pandemic life a little more interesting.

 

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