Microsoft knocks out Zoom with new Teams features
Microsoft has just launched a bunch of new Teams features as it aims to knock Zoom out of the park.
Over the last few months, Microsoft has been launching new Teams features to challenge Zoom’s dominance as many people work from home. Now, Microsoft has just made its Teams video conferencing service even better with new features for free users that could knock Zoom right out of the park.
The first new Teams feature is the opportunity to use your own logo or picture as a background, or to use one of the multiple custom backgrounds Microsoft has created. Teams already had the ability to blur your background so people can’t see that messy home office when you are on a work call.
The second feature is the ability to schedule meetings and send out invitations in advance in the free Teams version. Previously you could only use the ability to Meet Now.
Meeting schedulers have the option of either copying the meeting link to send directly to other participants or sending an invite via Outlook or Google calendar, Microsoft said in an announcement.
It’s being rolled out to current users first and will be launched “soon” for new Teams users. In addition, there is no time limit on meetings in the free version of Teams.
With the ability to schedule meetings too, the free Microsoft Teams option beats Zoom because the latter only offers free video chats for up to 45 minutes. While some people may be grateful of this for work calls, it means those who teach over Zoom have to open a paying account if they need to be online for more than 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, those using Zoom to chat to friends will often have to call back in after 45 minutes—annoying to say the least.
Another new Teams feature is the ability to turn on live captions during calls and meetings.
Microsoft takes advantage of Zoom’s security woes
During the coronavirus crisis, Zoom has seen a surge in users and with that, security and privacy issues have emerged. Zoom has been working to try and improve its reputation and make its service safer, but for some people it’s not enough.
This has led to attempts by Zoom’s rivals to try and grab a slice of its share as video conferencing services continue to be a lifeline for people working from home.
Over the last few months, Microsoft has been taking advantage of Zoom’s misfortunes by promoting the security and privacy credentials of its Teams video conferencing platform.
Possibly the last and most important feature Microsoft Teams needs to really beat Zoom is the ability to display more than nine participants on a call. Microsoft says this crucial feature is coming to Teams very soon, but we don’t know exactly when yet.
Even so, this latest move is certainly a new reason to try out Teams for a work call or video chat with friends, especially if you are becoming wary of Zoom.