Microsoft Teams free versions add community features

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Microsoft is launching new community features for Microsoft Teams.  This feature is designed to take the best parts of Teams and allow users to use them free of charge to create and organize groups.  Common communication features such as chat, calling, file, and photo sharing are featured.  Users will also be able to use a shared calendar to organize events, which does include Google Calendar integration.

The communities feature is rolling out now to Microsoft Teams (free), Teams Essentials when you sign in with a Microsoft account, Microsoft 365 Personal, and Microsoft 365 Family.

Microsoft is aiming less at business and more at the smaller social gatherings in our lives such as sports teams and carpools.  Microsoft understands that other social media platforms already offer ways to create and organize groups, but believes they have a different take.  In an interview with The Verge Amit Fulay VP of Product had this to say.

“These are very distinct from pure fan communities or discussion communities, and where I think our strengths are as a company… is our ability to provide those productivity tools.”

Microsoft has created a set of templates to make it easier to get your group created. Groups will also be limited to the free consumer version of Teams, and for now just in the mobile apps for Android and IOS. Integration into the desktop apps is expected to come later.  A Microsoft account is required for Teams Communities and you can easily invite others to join via a community link.

For now, the features may be basic, but Teams Communities fills a gap for Microsoft after failed attempts to acquire social platforms Discord, TikTok, and Pinterest doesn’t have a presence in the social media space. We will have to wait and see if consumers are interested in Microsoft’s take on groups and communities versus the already-established offerings.

Via The Verge