Microsoft today detailed all the new features and capabilities added to its Teams collaboration service over the past few weeks. This time around, the company has made a bunch of improvements to calls, meetings, mobile apps, and Teams Rooms, and much more. Here's a look at what you need to know.
First off, we’ll start with updates for meetings. The Microsoft Teams desktop client has picked up a new slide translation feature that enables meeting participants to translate content into their preferred language in private view. The feature is available when the presenter uses PowerPoint Live in a Microsoft Teams meeting, and it currently supports more than 19 languages.
There's also an improved search experience, allowing users to find meeting recordings based on the transcript. This option is accessible through the search bar in the Teams desktop app and makes it easier to find videos. Some other features added to Teams meetings in July 2021 are listed below:
- Microsoft Teams now lets organizers lock and unlock meetings at any time
- Microsoft Teams starts rolling out automatic recording option for meetings
- Microsoft Teams meetings are getting chat bubbles and 98-person Gallery view
- Microsoft Teams now lets meetings organizers mute audio from individual attendees
Lastly, Microsoft is introducing organization-wide backgrounds in preview, and it lets users within an organization view and apply them across meetings and calls. Users will be able to access these backgrounds via the new background settings panel. The new Call health panel on the desktop now provides an option to diagnose content sharing, audio, video, or network issues.
Chat & Collaboration
Next up are changes made to improve the chat and collaboration experience. Microsoft Teams has added an expanded emoji picker, which brings more than 800 new emojis featuring new categories and skin tones. The app now offers are nine emoji categories including people, smilies, food, activities, and hand gestures.
For the mobile versions of the app, the company is introducing Immersive reader support that will allow users to read and hear chat messages as well as channel posts. The mobile app is also adding on-demand message translation capabilities to Microsoft Teams channels.
Other minor additions include Headspace integration with the Microsoft Viva Insights app in Teams, which will provide guided meditations and focus music. This feature is accessible directly via the app Home page.
Moving on to calls, there's a new calling experience that allows users to transfer an ongoing PSTN/VoIP or group call between different devices. This means that users will be able to move calls from desktop to mobile (or vice versa) or even add a second device to the same call.
Microsoft Teams is also adding support for speed dial to iOS and Android devices. The speed dial feature has been available on desktop and Teams devices for a while now, and it should make it easier for mobile users to jump into a call with their important contacts on the go.
Microsoft Teams for Education and other updates
As for education users, Microsoft has introduced a new group assignment feature that brings the ability for multiple students to work together, create assignments and finally submit them as a group. It's also now possible to return assignments to students for revisions.
In addition, the Microsoft Teams for Education app has received Cortana voice assistance support in English on both Android and iOS devices. This capability lets users check their class schedule, join a class, find, search, navigate and share files with voice commands. The Suggested Replies feature is also available in Teams chats education customers.
There is also a new update for Teams Rooms on Windows, which helps IT Admins to prepare for the retirement of the Skype for Business Online service. There are new Teams-certified devices, and the list includes Dell UltraSharp Webcam, Poly Studio P15, Yealink MVC640 intelligent Microsoft Teams Rooms system, and Poly EncorePro 515/525 USB headsets.
Last but not least, the Redmond giant has detailed plenty of improvements for IT admins and Government customers. Some security, compliance, and privacy features have also been announced, and you can find more details in the blog post.