Microsoft launches Teams, its 'chat-based workspace' for Office 365, in 181 countries

In November, Microsoft announced Teams, a new 'chat-based workspace' for Office 365, going up against the popular workplace messaging and collaboration platform Slack. Since then, Teams has been available as a preview, but today, Microsoft announced its official launch around the world.

Teams is now generally available in 19 languages and 181 markets around the world. Since the first preview was released, Microsoft says that it's added over 100 new features in response to feedback from organizations - more than 50,000 of which are now using Teams - across the globe.

Chat is the core experience of Teams, and includes threaded conversations, as well as audio calling from mobile devices. Video calling is currently available on Android, and is "coming soon" to iOS and Windows phones. Users can also email channels, including attachments, as well as "send messages with markdown-based formatting, and receive notifications about all posts in a channel."

Microsoft describes Teams as a "hub for teamwork", thanks to its tight integration with the broader Office 365 ecosystem. In addition to easy access to workplace resources, Microsoft says it's "enhanced the meeting experience by adding scheduling capabilities, integrating free/busy calendar availability for team members, adding recurrence, and making it easier to transition from chat to high-quality voice and video."

Microsoft also touts customization as a core benefit of its Teams offering, with over 150 integrations - including many from partners such as SAP and Trello, as well as bots support from hipmunk, Growbot and Module Q - available now or coming soon. The company says that "these partnerships let users bring important apps and services into Teams, truly making it their own hub for teamwork."

And as you would expect of a Microsoft productivity platform, the company also touts security as a major feature of its new product. "Microsoft Teams supports global standards," it said, "including SOC 1, SOC 2, EU Model Clauses, ISO27001 and HIPAA. We also added support for audit log search, eDiscovery and legal hold for channels, chats and files as well as mobile application management with Microsoft Intune" (although some of these features, it adds, may require an additional subscription).

Teams now offers new accessibility features too, including support for screen readers, high contrast, and keyboard-only navigation.

Microsoft is already considering how to further improve Teams, encouraging users to "expect our pace to be rapid and responsive to customer needs". It says that it aims to bring "guest access capabilities in June along with deeper integration with Outlook and a richer developer platform", promising "a regular rhythm of new features and capabilities."

You can get a further overview of Microsoft Teams in the video below:

Source: Office Blogs

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