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Microsoft challenges Slack with a free version of Microsoft Teams

On Thursday, Microsoft started providing a unfastened 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 making improvements to its personal in-app seek, with automatic tips. Slack’s unfastened model nonetheless limits customers to 10,00zero searchable messages, despite the fact that—and Groups does no longer. That’s probably the most key promoting issues of the brand new unfastened Groups carrier; the opposite is the choice of customers—300—which might be sufficient for lots of small companies.

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

That stated, Microsoft is, actually, booking key options for the paid model of Groups, which is constructed into Place of job 365. Video chats which can be performed inside Groups—which is changing the standalone Skype for Trade software—will also be saved within the cloud, and is searchable, and lines computerized captioning as neatly. Sooner or later, Microsoft stated, it’s going to come with facial popularity, 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 season.

For now, despite the fact that, right here’s what’s going to be within the fundamental model of Groups, in line with Microsoft: 

microsoft teams free Mark Hachman / IDG

Microsoft sees Slack as a most sensible competitor, and is attempting to determine Groups as a one-stop repository for any record that a workforce jointly must paintings on. Over 140 industry apps paintings with Groups, Microsoft stated, and the 2GB/consumer document prohibit will have to permit a number of garage consistent with consumer. (Paid Groups individuals rise up to a terabyte of garage, after all, as a part of Place of job 365.)

Two further options might be added to the unfastened Groups model later this yr, together with background blurring, a useful instrument for far flung customers. Because the identify suggests, Groups will intelligently blur your display’s background—so for those who’re undertaking 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 top of the yr, Microsoft stated. (The unfastened model of Groups is to be had in 40 languages already.)

Microsoft could also be making yet one more freebie to be had to Home windows 10 customers (no longer Groups): Whiteboard, the inking app that Microsoft first presented closing summer season. 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 power 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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