Microsoft is making some key improvements to the free version of Microsoft Teams on Windows 11. The new changes will make the video conferencing software – which many of us dread using – a lot more user-friendly, and generally a lot more pleasant to use.
The built-in Teams app will include support for Microsoft’s communities feature inside Teams, the company’s more professional rival to Discord. Microsoft Designer, the nifty generative AI art tool, will also receive integrated support in Teams, making it easier for users to whip up images for invitations, social media posts, or a cheeky work meme all in one place.
Microsoft Teams ‘communities’ launched last December and act as a way for families, friends, and businesses to plan out meetings, share calendars, and chat, similar to how people might use Slack or Discord. The feature has been limited to mobile so far, but today’s expansion will let Windows 11 users join in on the fun.
Teamwork makes the dream work
Amit Fulay, Vice President of Microsoft Teams, explained in a blog post that “On Windows 11, community owners can create communities from scratch, share and invite members, create and host events, moderate content with critical trust and safety features, and get notified about all important activities”. According to the post, Microsoft plans to extend the community love to Windows 10, macOS, and the web browser version of Teams.
Microsoft Designer will have a preview version available in Microsoft Teams for Windows 11 soon, which will help people create community banners, profile photos, inside jokes, and event imagery. This is the same service already integrated into Microsoft Edge, which uses a combination of Dall-E and Adobe Express features for basic, easy-to-use AI image generation.
Finally, amongst all these pretty cool updates, communities in Teams will be getting mobile and general usability improvements, allowing you to record videos from your phone and use filters on your videos and photos within the app.
It’s really encouraging to see Microsoft Teams get a huge personality update, shifting the general vibe of ‘dull and boring’ towards something people will hopefully be inclined to use every day.
Discord can be a lot to wrap your head around if you’re just starting out on the platform, so gradually introducing similar features to Teams, which many people already use for work or school, cuts out that initial confusion and gives users more tools to employ in a familiar environment. These Teams updates basically make the online collaboration platform a lot more fun and unintimidating. We’re excited to see these updates – and probably make many, many memes with the Designer tool.