Microsoft Teams Turns Two

Posted on March 19, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Office 365, Microsoft 365 with 22 Comments

On the second anniversary of its release, Microsoft has announced some new milestones for Teams, its chat-based collaboration solution.

“Over the past two years, Teams has grown significantly in both new capabilities and customer usage, as the hub for teamwork that brings people together and fosters a culture of engagement and inclusion,” Microsoft 365 general manager Lori Wright notes. “We’re unveiling eight new capabilities in Teams that make collaboration more inclusive, effective, and secure.”

But first, the milestones: Teams is now in use by over 500,000 organizations, including 91 of the Fortune 100. The product is currently available in 44 languages across 181 markets, and Microsoft plans to roll it out support for nine additional languages—Hindi, Filipino, Bengali, Telugu, Tamil, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada, and Malayalam—soon.

Following up on the mobile Teams experiences that Microsoft unveiled in January, the firm today is highlighting 8 new features that are coming soon:

  • Customized, green screen-like backgrounds for video chat
  • Support for Microsoft’s Intelligent Capture technologies so that USB cameras can be used to capture content like whiteboard images and text
  • Support for Microsoft Whiteboard in Teams so that in-person attendees can also contribute
  • Live captions for those who are deaf or hard of hearing
  • Secure private channels so that content can be limited to the right audience without having to create separate teams
  • Information barriers to avoid conflicts of interest within an organization and limit which individuals can communicate and collaborate with each other
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in chats and conversations so that sensitive information is automatically detected and protected

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Comments (22)

22 responses to “Microsoft Teams Turns Two”

  1. jbinaz

    I know Paul and Brad like to dog on Teams, but I find it pretty useful. I use it for messaging, impromptu meetings with screen sharing, I can get to documents for a channel that are shared within SharePoint, as well as view OneNote docs. Because I work on multiple projects at any given time, it's actually become a central place for me to find things related to the various projects I work on. Everything for a given project is in that channel, which is great.

    My biggest complaint? It doesn't tell me how long a call in my call history was. That is supposedly available in a "higher" version, but if that's my biggest complaint, then it's probably a pretty good product. At least for me, in my n=1 experience.

    • will

      In reply to jbinaz:

      I agree that Teams is good, but it still has room to grow. When you get into some larger chat discussions it can be hard to find out where something previously discussed was and the IM could be better served if there was a way to have a smaller IM window vs the whole Teams window open.

      The biggest miss for some of our teams is having a calendar in Teams. So many people live in Outlook that having a Team calendar would be great. Yes it could show up in Outlook as well, but being able to schedule and see everything in a single pane would be good.

      • jbinaz

        In reply to will:

        Does the "Meetings" navigation on the left not work? I can see all my meetings from Outlook in there, and I can schedule a meeting from there as well. If you schedule it there, does it not sync back to Outlook?

      • pbeiler1

        In reply to will:

        If one creates the Office 365 OFFICE group first, then creates a TEAM from that office group, a group calendar shows up OUTLOOK.

    • JerryH

      In reply to jbinaz:

      It is useful. No doubt about that. However the design of the Windows app is just horrific. You can be editing an Excel file directly in Teams and get an instant message from someone and you can't answer without leaving where you are. If you have multiple accounts (for example I have my corporate one and a guest one for interacting with Microsoft) you can only be logged into one of them at a time. They only allow one window! On Windows! If they could just make it so that I can have say three Teams windows open it would be a lot more usable for me at least.

      • jbinaz

        In reply to JerryH:

        Interesting. I've never actually edited a file in Teams - I've always opened in the browser or in Word, Excel, etc. But I can see the value of editing in place and being able to respond to the message without having to leave the doc. Does seem like a place for improvement.

        I'm guessing your use case of multiple instances is fairly unique, although I could be wrong. I wonder if it's a technical limitation as well. I do like the idea, though.

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to jbinaz:

      The kind of project-based hub you're describing with Teams sounds like exactly what I want. We moved from O365 to G Suite a few years ago so we're using the new Hangouts Chat as our persistent messaging solution, and the lack of Drive integration makes it sub-par for that. Files are scattered throughout threads in the chat so you need to rely on search.

  2. Tony Barrett

    ...and despite all those stats, figures and general 'isn't Teams great' PR fluff, a lot of people I've spoken to who have to use it, hate it. Too illogical and badly designed are the main complaints, but MS will keep pushing it hard, and will probably roll in more and more features to try and get companies on-board.

  3. dontbe evil

    Damn how much I miss Teams, I switched company 5 months ago and I really don't find slack as good as Teams

  4. Emmanuel Rannaud

    You'll have to pry Skype for Business from my cold dead hands.

    Teams UI is challenging to say the least. Non intuitive at all.

  5. goodbar

    Finally, whiteboard support..

  6. gregsedwards

    I wish my organization would get on board with Teams. We got burned a few years ago by a sub-par experience with an on-prem Skype for Business solution, and they've pretty much sworn off going to Teams. We're currently piloting Slack, and it's god awful.

    • wolters

      In reply to gregsedwards:

      Agreed. Maybe it is me but Slack and Discord just seem messy to me.

      I successfully moved us from Skype for Business to TEAMS. Beyond my users missing printable conversations and a feature here and there, I think they are using TEAMS more than they ever used Skype.

  7. shmuelie

    No link to the original blog post?

  8. bilbils

    Do we have any idea on timing for these new features? "Secure Private Channels" are a must! We have WAY to many TEAMS being created. :)