Microsoft starts adding consumer features to Teams desktop and web apps


Microsoft began rolling out consumer Teams features on iOS and Android earlier this year. Starting today, November 19, consumer features for Teams on PCs and browsers are starting to roll out, as well.

Microsoft is making available preview releases of the following features in the Teams desktop and web apps: 

Start a personal chat or create a group chat with up to 250 people.Seamlessly sync existing chats from a phone to a computer and continue conversations on the device of your choice. Talk all day for free with friends and family via video or audio calls. Share video meeting invites with anyone, even if they don’t have Teams.View up to 49 people in one frame in Gallery view or Together mode. Upload and share photos and videos from your computer in any personal or group chat.

To access these consumer Teams features, users can download the Teams desktop app and sign in with or create a personal Microsoft account. Users also have the option to add a personal account to an existing work Teams account. (Microsoft says it is rolling out this option “slowly” to existing commercial customers; it signaled its intent to let users add a single Teams personal account to a single work/school account earlier this month.) To use consumer Teams features in a browser, go to this link and sign in or create a Microsoft personal account.

Microsoft also announced it is adding previews of more consumer features to the existing Teams mobile apps. Users are getting the option to chat with contacts on iOS and Android who don’t have Teams installed on their phones by adding them to a group chat. They also are getting a new location feature to enable users to provide updates/alerts about their physical whereabouts.

Other new mobile consumer-centric Teams features, which Microsoft says are starting to roll out now and will be fully available in preview on iOS and Android “in the coming weeks”:

Add group events from your chats to your device’s calendar. Get task and location updates in your activity feed. Add a photo to your personal Safe.

Just a reminder (because I still see people saying there’s a separate Teams consumer app): There is no separate Teams consumer app. Instead, Microsoft is adding consumer features to existing Teams work apps and the Teams web apps. Also: For now, Microsoft is not saying it plans to replace Skype with Teams; officials continue to say the two serve different purposes, with Teams being more than “just” a way to do chat and audio/video calls.

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