What just happened? Microsoft has announced that it is adding to several new features to Teams to mark the software’s third anniversary. It comes at a time when the number of daily active users has skyrocketed from 32 million to 44 million in just one week.
With the coronavirus forcing many people to work and study from home, work-from-home software companies are struggling to meet demand. Teams now has more than double the 20 million users it had in November and was so overwhelmed with users on Monday that it went down for two hours across Europe.
With the problems now appearing to have been addressed, Microsoft has announced some new features that should improve its popular app. Firstly, there’s real-time noise suppression for Teams that uses AI to eliminate background noises, which should make it easier to hear what’s being said in noisy envoronments.
Another new addition is the Raise Hand feature, which involves clicking an icon that sends a visual cue to everyone in a meeting, indicating that you have something to say. Expect this to be especially useful in meetings with lots of participants.
Teams is getting a low-bandwidth/offline mode, too, allowing people to compose messages and read chat messages even when there’s no internet connection. There’s also a pop-out feature that lets you quickly jump between chats placed in different windows and a US-only service for small-to-medium businesses that turns Teams into a complete phone system.
Microsoft said it at the beginning of March that it had seen Teams usage increase 500 percent in China, the source of the cornavirus.
Today, the Windows maker said it would be giving the UK’s National Health Workers free access to Teams for the duration of the outbreak.