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Microsoft challenges Slack with a free version of Microsoft Teams

On Thursday, Microsoft started providing a loose model of Microsoft Groups as an incentive to modify over from Slack—and is loading it up with key options similar to limitless chat messages. 

Previous this week, Slack stated it was once bettering its personal in-app seek, with automatic tips. Slack’s loose model nonetheless limits customers to 10,00zero searchable messages, even though—and Groups does no longer. That’s one of the vital key promoting issues of the brand new loose Groups provider; the opposite is the collection of customers—300—which will probably be sufficient for lots of small companies.

“For us, it was once all about regularly breaking down boundaries to [Teams],” stated Lori Wright, Basic Supervisor of Microsoft 365 Teamwork, in an interview. “We don’t essentially suppose you will have to be an Place of work 365 subscriber to enjoy the ability of the Groups answer.”

That stated, Microsoft is, in truth, booking key options for the paid model of Groups, which is constructed into Place of work 365. Video chats which might be carried out inside of Groups—which is changing the standalone Skype for Industry utility—may also be saved within the cloud, and is searchable, and contours computerized captioning as smartly. At some point, Microsoft stated, it’ll come with facial reputation, in order that audience can seek for what was once stated, in addition to who stated it. A public preview of “are living occasions,” video proclaims that may be transcribed, archived, and timecoded, will debut this summer time.

For now, even though, right here’s what’s going to be within the fundamental model of Groups, in step with Microsoft: 

microsoft teams free Mark Hachman / IDG

Microsoft sees Slack as a most sensible competitor, and is making an attempt to determine Groups as a one-stop repository for any record workforce jointly must paintings on. Over 140 industry apps paintings with Groups, Microsoft stated, and the 2GB/person report prohibit will have to permit quite a few garage according to person. (Paid Groups individuals rise up to a terabyte of garage, after all, as a part of Place of work 365.)

Two further options will probably be added to the loose Groups model later this 12 months, together with background blurring, a useful software for far flung customers. Because the identify suggests, Groups will intelligently blur your display’s background—so in case you’re carrying out a video chat out of your kitchen desk, your grimy dishes received’t be visual within the background. Inline message translation in 36 languages could also be due ahead of the tip of the 12 months, Microsoft stated. (The loose model of Groups is to be had in 40 languages already.)

Microsoft could also be making another freebie to be had to Home windows 10 customers (no longer Groups): Whiteboard, the inking app that Microsoft first presented remaining summer time. Starting Thursday, the Whiteboard app is freely to be had for Home windows 10 and iOS. Whiteboard faucets one of the most options that it first presented with OneNote, similar to the facility to create machine-generated flowcharts and charts from inked shapes.

Microsoft mssurfacepro mkt 006 rgb no bckgrnd5 Microsoft

Microsoft’s Whiteboard app is a simplified drawing app, optimized for collaboration.

Microsoft’s ‘nudges’ will serve as your work coach

If your workplace subscribes to Microsoft’s MyAnalytics service, you may see something a bit odd later this summer, within Outlook. Microsoft’s MyAnalytics, which already can track how many minutes you’ve spent in meetings or reading emails, is getting a bit nosier.

If you’ve set a meeting for an hour, for example, Outlook might suggest you try to finish up n 45 minutes, to give attendees more free time. Too many meetings on your schedule? Outlook might suggest building in some personal “focus time.” And if you’re trying to send emails to colleagues at 2:00 a.m., Outlook might gently suggest you downplay the urgency of the message.

hero workplace analtyics Microsoft

Microsoft’s MyAnalytics dashboard is remarkably detailed.

Microsoft hasn’t said whether these “nudges,” as the company calls them, will migrate to the paid version of Outlook. If they do, expect to see a few raised eyebrows among the general public.

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