While it's late to the party, Microsoft is offering a surprisingly strong set of features with the free version of Teams. It supports up to 300 people, and it includes unlimited chat messages and searching; 10GB of file storage for teams, plus 2GB of personal space; audio and video calling for groups of people and the entire team; and unlimited integrations with over 140 apps. And of course, it'll tie into all of the Office 365 online apps, like Word, Powerpoint, Excel and OneNote. In comparison, Slack's free version only searches 10,000 of your most recent messages; is limited to one-on-one voice and video calls; connects to only 10 third-party apps; and offers only 5GB of storage for your entire team.
Clearly, Microsoft is flexing its infrastructure muscle with this Teams move. The company says 200,000 businesses around the world are currently using Teams, and you can expect that number to jump significantly now that people can try it for free. You can sign up for your own free Teams group today.
Looking ahead, Microsoft laid out a few upgrades for Teams that free and paying customers can look forward to. The company plans to add automatic background blurring for video chats later this year, which should make conversations from your messy bedroom a bit less embarrassing. You'll also see in-line translations across 36 different languages, something that should really help teams spread out all over the globe. And finally, the paid version of Teams now has cloud meeting recordings, which will also be automatically transcribed and timecoded.
In other workplace collaboration news, Microsoft announced that Office 365 users will be able to run live and on-demand events through Yammer. The company is also adding a healthy dose of intelligent services for those streams. Office 365 will use facial detection to automatically detect when particular people are talking, allowing you to jump straight to their portions of the event. Additionally, there's automatic timecoding, speech-to-text transcription and search, as well as closed captions. The events can be scaled from webcams all the way up to pro-grade studio equipment.