Microsoft Updates on New Teams Features

Posted on April 9, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Office 365, Microsoft 365 with 22 Comments

With Teams use exploding, Microsoft has provided an update about the new Teams features that it announced in March. This time, Microsoft declined to provide a new figure for monthly average users, however.

“We’ve seen a new daily record of 2.7 billion meeting minutes in one day, a 200 percent increase from 900 million on March 16,” Microsoft corporate vice president Jared Spataro writes. “And as students and teachers turn to Teams for distance learning, there are 183,000 tenants in 175 countries using Teams for Education … We’ve also seen total video calls in Teams grow by over 1,000 percent in the month of March.”

Spataro also provided an update on the new Teams features that Microsoft announced in March:

Custom backgrounds, which allow you to replace your background in Teams meetings, is now generally available in Teams. “This feature builds upon background blur, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to blur the environment behind you,” Spataro notes. “In the future, we will also include the ability to upload your own custom images.”

Raised hand is rolling out globally this month. “It lets meeting participants indicate they have something to say during a meeting by clicking on a hand-raise icon in the meeting control bar,” Spataro says.

End meeting, the ability for meeting organizers to end a meeting for all participants with the click of a button, is now available. Meeting organizers will find an option to “end meeting” in the meeting control bar options.

Participant report lets meeting organizers, especially teachers, know who joined their Teams meetings. This feature will be available this month, and you will be able to download a participant report includes join and leave times for participants.

Real-time noise suppression, which uses AI to reduce distracting background noise such as loud typing or a barking dog in Teams meetings, is still coming “later this year.”

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Comments (22)

22 responses to “Microsoft Updates on New Teams Features”

  1. Lauren Glenn

    I don't mind Teams, but one thing I almost wish (not sure if it's just my place) but it seems that anyone can mute or disconnect anyone else or admit people into a meeting despite not being an admin. And a full screen mode would be nice too with all those side toolbars and top / bottom bars hidden unless you hover over them with a mouse.

    • redstar92

      In reply to alissa914:

      The muting and disconnecting can be handled in the people menu item in the meeting by making someone an attendee or in meeting options before the meeting starts. Its annoying that there is no way to default to this behavior though (and its per meeting/per user)

  2. chrisrut

    This is good news on many levels.

    Virtualizing the human experience is the name of humanity's game - for the next several decades at least.

    Microsoft is doing great in this space.

  3. peterh_oz

    Are the backgrounds in the pc version only? Or on the Android version too? I don't have a camera on my desktop so I use the app for video meetings, although I use the pc version for all day txt and audio communication.

  4. harrymyhre

    Noise suppression - yes!

  5. jchampeau

    I'm surprised, but maybe I shouldn't be, that improving and simplifying the process of inviting people outside one's organization to meetings isn't on this list, a la Zoom, GoToMeeting, Webex, etc.

  6. will

    What about the features they had announced months ago but have not yet rolled out?

    1) Increasing the number of video windows on a call from 4 to 9 (I think the new number is 9)

    2) Tasks - Adding a new Tasks panel in teams

    3) Chat - Breaking out the chat window into a separate window if needed or desired

    While I like they are moving on Teams, I would like to see some of these items, especially the 9 active video panels on a screen, rolling out before some of the other items.

    PS - I thought they demoed the noise suppression last year at Ignite? I would ask they stop showing off features that are a year or more away and stick with what is coming in the next few months...maybe longer if it is a major update ;)

    • lundp

      In reply to will:

      I know in education we are anxiously awaiting th gallery view well beyond 4 people. 25 would be an appropriate number for the size of classroom meetings for students.

  7. StevenLayton

    Can't wait to add a background image of a tropical beach to my next Teams meeting. I'm sure they'll all think I'm really funny and original, lol.

    • texasaggie97

      In reply to StevenLayton:

      It isn't officially supported yet but...


      Where I got that suggested resizing to about 1MB and scaling down, but I have just copied a few jpgs at about 2.5MB and 6000x4000 and it works.

      So far I've been to Alaska and Japan in my meetings.

      If it matters, we are part of TAP. Have TAP? What ever the correct terminology is.

      Edit: Two slashes because one just disappears...

  8. Chris_Kez

    As a corporate G Suite user mired in Google’s TWO YEAR (and counting) transition from Hangouts to Hangouts Chat, I am gobsmacked by Teams’ velocity. Two years of dev time and Chat has not appreciably changed at all; same goes for Meet. I just don’t understand what Google is doing.

    • darkgrayknight

      In reply to Chris_Kez:

      I never liked Google's G Suite, or their approach to chat or meetings (which seems like they never liked it either as they have multiple apps that do IM/chat/messaging/video/phone/etc. but none of them are connected to each other, or similar, and haven't changed in ages).

  9. skolvikings

    End Meeting and Custom Backgrounds don't appear in my Teams client. Yes, I checked for updates.

    • lundp

      In reply to Skolvikings: I have End Meeting in my Mac version of Teams, but no Custom backgrounds yet. Seems things are rolling out differently. My last Teams app update was March 29th.

      • IanYates82

        In reply to lundp:

        Same, but on Windows.

        Really want to use the background stuff.

        I've been through our admin settings.. Nothing there.

        It would be great if Microsoft had a feature version number in your tenant so you could tell if your tenant had received the magic touch yet.

    • jbinaz

      In reply to Skolvikings:

      Haven't seen it in mine, either. I'm wondering if it can be enabled/disabled by group policy.

    • shadetc

      In reply to Skolvikings:

      I can't speak to End Meeting, but I've been using the Custom Backgrounds for about a week and they work well for a first pass of the feature. Can't use custom backgrounds, and several of the stock ones are superbly boring, but I imagine that they pushed this through quickly to provide the feature. We're on an early adopter channel, so they may be doing a burn in with a smaller group before rolling it out worldwide.

  10. saint4eva

    This is nice. Microsoft Teams keeps improving and getting better, within a brief period.