Microsoft is launching today a new Communities feature for the free version of Microsoft Teams. The software giant continues to push Teams as it all-in-one communication solution for consumers and businesses, and Microsoft believes that its new Teams Communities can also be useful for small businesses.
“Whether your group is a recreational sports team, event planning committee, parent-teacher association, or even a small business, this new experience gives groups of all kinds a digital space to stay connected before, during, and after gatherings,” Manik Gupta, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Teams Product.
Teams Communities will let members organize in-person, virtual, or hybrid events. There is a community calendar shared with all members, and features like screen sharing and Together mode are also supported for hybrid events.
Community owners will have moderation tools and the ability to set community guidelines for all members. Everyone will also have filters to easily access photos, videos, events, and links shared by other members.
Communities in Teams are currently only available on the iOS and Android apps, and they’re coming to the desktop app soon. When using the free version of Microsoft Teams (with a personal Microsoft account), Communities will be accessible via the Home tab in the mobile app.
If you already use Teams with a work or school account, you’ll need to switch to your personal Microsoft account by clicking on your profile picture. The fact that the Teams consumer experience is accessible within the same Teams app is both a strength and a weakness: Switching back and forth between your personal and work accounts within Teams throughout the day can get tiring pretty quickly.
Microsoft Teams has millions of users in the enterprise world, but “Teams for consumers” is likely not going to enjoy the same level of momentum any time soon. In the consumer space, Teams Communities will be competing with established platforms such as Facebook Groups, Discord servers, or even the new WhatsApp Communities feature that Meta launched last month.