Microsoft has launched the personal version of Microsoft Teams, as a part of a broader effort by Microsoft to remain relevant with its consumers after a series of moves away from consumer-friendly products.
The company is adding new features to the existing Microsoft Teams app that might appeal to a set of people looking to do more than just chat. The Verge writes that this is not meant to be a way to begin to compete with the likes of WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, but simply a repositioning of Teams as more friendly to individuals and their families, and not just meant for corporations or businesses.
Launched initially as a preview for iOS and Android, Microsoft Teams for personal use includes the basics of text chat and video calling, combined with shared lists, documents, calendars, and location sharing.
The app now includes a dashboard of events, locations, tasks, and images that everyone in a group has shared. Microsoft is trying to take all of the best features of Microsoft Teams for work and make them relevant for when you need them at home.
Microsoft wants to the repositioning of Teams to be a means for families or friends to organise groups events or get things done – such as planning a family vacation or staying in touch with extended families.
“I think if all you want to do is just have a chat with someone, there are plenty of great standalone chat apps,” admits Liat Ben-Zur, a Microsoft executive working on the company’s “Modern Life” initiative to The Verge.
Microsoft Teams is now being designed for “people who find themselves coordinating lots of group type events,” says Ben-Zur.
“Everything from busy moms… to people who head up Girl Scout troops, fantasy football leagues, people who are doing book clubs, people running social advocacy groups. People who are constantly finding themselves in groups trying to coordinate various things in groups.”
The mobile versions of Microsoft Teams for iOS and Android will be updated to allow anyone to log into the apps with a personal Microsoft Account.
Users will be able to quickly switch within the apps from work to a home account and use the personal version alongside other Office apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.