Microsoft's Slack rival helps you find and use apps

It's part of an overhaul including app content sharing and quick commands.

Microsoft is determined to make Teams a strong alternative to collaborative chat apps like Slack, and it's now targeting one of Slack's strong points: apps. The company is rolling out a major update whose centerpiece is a new app store that lets you find the tools you need, whether it's a productivity booster like Adobe Creative Cloud or a chat bot. Accordingly, you can bring content from apps directly into a conversation, such as a relevant news story or the weather, and check out what's happening across your apps in a dedicated space.

The Redmond-based crew has launched a new app of its own, Who, that helps you search for coworkers both by their name or their topic. You shouldn't have trouble tracking down a graphic designer or engineer when you need them to finish a key project.

Microsoft is also courting power users with the update. You can now control apps straight from the command box, such as searching for a photo. Slash commands (like "/away") are here as well, so you don't have to give up all the habits you learned from your IRC days.

The Teams update is, in a sense, an admission that Teams' original Office-centric focus only took it so far. Many companies see Office as just one part of their tool kit -- the upgrade gives those audiences a reason to give Teams a look instead of making a beeline for the alternatives.