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Microsoft introduces Teams Public Preview program to test new features

Microsoft has announced a new way for users to test new features for Teams, the company's business-oriented communication tool. The new preview program will work similarly to the Insider programs for Office or Windows, with a Beta channel for users who want to try new features as early as possible, and Private and Public preview channels meant to test upcoming pubic releases ahead of time.

However, there are some key differences here. The Beta and Public Preview channels are only available to organizations in the Technology Adoption Program, which also requires participants to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), and these options were already available for eligible users. The Public Preview channel is launching today, and it can be accessed and discussed publicly, and it's available for both organizations and developers.

Another difference is that Teams releases aren't based on build releases, but rather on feature releases. Not every release is tied to a new build, and different channels may be on the same build, with different features enabled.

If you choose to join the Public Preview channel in your organization, the preview features for December are:

  • Windows 10 native notifications.
  • Large gallery and Together mode for web
  • 2x2 view on VDI (Citrix, VMWare)
  • Meeting reactions

Microsoft's announcement and support documentation make no mention of these preview features being available to Teams users that only use personal features. Enabling the Teams Public Preview program needs to be done by IT administrators in an organization, and then on the Teams client on a per-client basis. It's possible that personal users will be allowed to enable preview features on the client at some point.

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