3 min read

Yesterday, Microsoft announced a free version of the Microsoft Teams app posing heavy competition to its rival chat service Slack.

The new Teams app comes loaded with key features such as unlimited free chat messages, app integrations, 300 user base limit, etc.  Whereas, Slack’s free version limits users to 10,000 searchable messages, making the Teams app a strong contender to Slack.

Until now, Teams was only offered to clients that paid for Office 365 and its subscription. But, there is no need to be an Office 365 subscriber anymore to experience the power of the Teams app as stated by Lori Wright, General Manager of Microsoft 365 Teamwork.

Let’s have a look at the features that the free version of the Teams app offers.

Key Features

  • The free version of Teams app is globally available in 40 different languages.
  • It offers unlimited chat messages, app integrations, and search.
  • It provides 10 GB team file storage as well as additional 2 GB per user.
  • It has a built-in online office which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote along with SharePoint and OneDrive.
  • There are native audio and video calling options for one on one meetings, small groups as well as for the full team.
  • With over 140 business apps working with Teams, Microsoft will offer two additional features to the free version of Teams app, later this year. This includes background blurring and Inline message Translation in 36 languages.
      • Background Blurring will intelligently blur out your screen’s background. So if you are conducting a video call from your kitchen table, there is no need to worry about the dirty dishes and the mess in the background as it won’t be visible. 
      • Inline Message Translation allows people to chat in their native language and then translate their messages into English.

But, there are still some key features that are available only in the paid version of the Teams app. With the paid version, all the video chats conducted within Team can be stored in the cloud. These are searchable and comes with automatic captioning. It also offers Email hosting through Exchange or Outlook.

Microsoft is also planning on including facial recognition for the viewers to easily search what was said and who said it. Other than that, there will be a public preview of “live events” feature i.e. video broadcasts that can be transcribed, archived, and time coded which will be available shortly.

Microsoft doesn’t consider the free version of the Teams App as a lightweight version of the paid offering, which is the case with Slack. As mentioned earlier, Microsoft includes innumerable features that offer increased storage space, messaging search features along with letting users make group video and voice calls. Whereas, Slack’s free version only allows calls between two people at a time.

But, Slack is also working on improving its own in-app search, with automated suggestions. The main question is, whether the users who are already happy using Slack would want to switch to the Teams app or not. We can only wait to find out.

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