Microsoft has released its new user version today, after almost a year of testing this tool in “preview” mode. Microsoft Teams is now available for free personal use among friends and family. In this way, it enhances its capabilities to compete with WhatsApp, something that the Redmond company had already been firmly in mind in the spring of 2020.
With these new features aimed at users and families, with features beyond businesses, Microsoft fulfills that dream that has been dragging for some time. The goal was to reach beyond the business environment where it is very popular to transcend to the field of communication between friends and family as WhatsApp is.
With the new features announced today you will be able to meet with up to 300 people for up to 24 hours. Eventually, free group calls will be limited to a maximum of 100 people for an hour, although Microsoft has not specified when this measure will come into force. What it has said is that it will maintain the 24 hours for calls with fewer users. The preview was initially launched on iOS and Android, but Microsoft Teams for personal use now works on the web, mobile and desktop apps.
The service itself is nearly identical to the Microsoft Teams used by businesses, and will allow people to chat, make video calls and share calendars, locations and files in a simple way. In addition, Microsoft continues to offer everyone the free 24-hour video calling it introduced in the preview release in November.
Microsoft is also allowing personal Teams users to activate its “Together” or together mode, a feature that uses AI to segment participants’ faces and shoulders and place them next to other people in a virtual space. Skype got this same feature in December.
It should be remembered that for the consumer, Microsoft has Skype. Last year when it launched the Teams preview for all users, the company said it was “fully committed to Skype.” However, the rise of Zoom and Teams itself during the months of absolute lockdown due to the pandemic brought to the table that traditional Skype didn’t seem as relevant among users as it had been seeing from before.
To try Microsoft Teams for personal use, you can download the apps for iOS, Android or desktop, or simply head to Teams on the web and use it without downloading any software to your computer.
At the same time, since March 2020, when it reached more than 44 million daily active users for Teams, Microsoft has been careful to announce new features to make this video calling service attractive to users in a highly competitive market.