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[Updated] Microsoft Teams Will Make Group Video Calls Less Painful

Four people talking in a Microsoft Teams window.

Right now, people from all over the world are working from home for the first time. That’s evident by Team’s skyrocketing usage numbers. The service went from 13 million daily active users (DAUs) last July to 32 million DAUs last week to 44 million DAUs now. Amid all that, the service is adding features that might make your next virtual conference call more bearable.

Update, 4/9/2020: Microsoft says custom backgrounds, end meetings, and participate reports are available now. Raise hand is rolling out this month, and noise suppression will roll out later this year.

Most of the new features Teams announced revolve around group calls, but there is one exception. Teams will soon have an offline mode. While offline, you can read any messages (presumably that came through before you lost connection) and draft messages to send as soon as you have service.

But the group calls features are the ones you don’t just want, you need. First up is noise suppression. It seems like on every group call, there’s always someone who can’t figure out how to mute while they eat chips or rummage in the kitchen. Noise Suppression will attempt to filter out those sounds so you can focus on voices.

And if you’re ever wanted to say something, but just can’t find an opening to speak up (because Jim won’t stop talking, again), the new raise hand feature is for you. Click on the raise hand button to let everyone know you have something to say.

Meeting organizers are also getting a couple of new options—end meeting and participate reports. End meeting stops the call for everyone at once, and participate reports give the organizer a list of who joined the meeting.

Teams is also adding a new popout chat feature to help with the organization of your conversations. And, much like Zoom, Teams will get a custom backgrounds option to hide your dirty office.

It’s not clear when these new features will roll out, but we know one at least part of the answer for Teams users—not soon enough.

via The Verge

Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson is the Editor in Chief of Review Geek and is responsible for the site's content direction. He has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smart home enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »