Microsoft Teams update will mean there really is no escape

Microsoft has announced that Teams applications are now available outside of the collaboration platform for the first time.

In a blog post, the company revealed that members of the Targeted Release early access program can now use a small number of Microsoft Teams apps from within email service Outlook and Office.com.

“With this enhancement, apps built for Teams not only run everywhere Teams runs, but also in more of the places that users spend their time in Microsoft 365,” Microsoft explained.

Microsoft Teams apps

Since the start of the pandemic, Microsoft has fought to establish Teams as the central hub for working. The objective was to give workers access to all the tools they need in one place, by integrating a variety of first- and third-party services into the platform.

And the strategy appears to have paid dividends. The latest data suggests Teams has racked up more than 270 million monthly active users (MAUs), up from fewer than 50 million daily active users before the pandemic began.

However, Microsoft has now shifted its approach to focus more closely on creating fluid experiences that streamline the transition between various Microsoft 365 services. The introduction of Teams applications to other Microsoft platforms can be seen as part of this process.

At first, there will only be a handful of Microsoft Teams apps available outside the regular client; some from Microsoft itself (e.g. Power BI) and some from third-party vendors like Zoho and Mural. And these apps will also only be available to a small number of users in preview.

However, the company has promised to double down on the program, with a raft of Teams apps migrating to other Microsoft spaces in the months to come.

Microsoft says IT administrators can control which “enhanced Teams apps” are available to employees from within the regular Teams admin center.

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Microsoft Teams update will mean there really is no escape

Microsoft has announced that Teams applications are now available outside of the collaboration platform for the first time.

In a blog post, the company revealed that members of the Targeted Release early access program can now use a small number of Microsoft Teams apps from within email service Outlook and Office.com.

“With this enhancement, apps built for Teams not only run everywhere Teams runs, but also in more of the places that users spend their time in Microsoft 365,” Microsoft explained.

Microsoft Teams apps

Since the start of the pandemic, Microsoft has fought to establish Teams as the central hub for working. The objective was to give workers access to all the tools they need in one place, by integrating a variety of first- and third-party services into the platform.

And the strategy appears to have paid dividends. The latest data suggests Teams has racked up more than 270 million monthly active users (MAUs), up from fewer than 50 million daily active users before the pandemic began.

However, Microsoft has now shifted its approach to focus more closely on creating fluid experiences that streamline the transition between various Microsoft 365 services. The introduction of Teams applications to other Microsoft platforms can be seen as part of this process.

At first, there will only be a handful of Microsoft Teams apps available outside the regular client; some from Microsoft itself (e.g. Power BI) and some from third-party vendors like Zoho and Mural. And these apps will also only be available to a small number of users in preview.

However, the company has promised to double down on the program, with a raft of Teams apps migrating to other Microsoft spaces in the months to come.

Microsoft says IT administrators can control which “enhanced Teams apps” are available to employees from within the regular Teams admin center.

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Developers really aren’t loving GitHub’s new algorithmic For You feed

Change is always difficult – big and small – especially when it's forced upon you by a giant corporation. That's what some developers on GitHub are finding out, at least, after the company introduced a personalised For You feed. 

As spotted by The Register, the For You algorithm-based feed hasn't gone down particularly well. The top-voted post from the past few days, with 211 upvotes, simply states: “I don't want algorithmic feed” before listing some reasons. 

The sentiment is echoed elsewhere. All but the third most upvoted post criticised the new For You feed.

All change

“I don't think Github needs facebook/instagram like features,” wrote one user. “I personally don't care about what people like/fork, and i don't want people to know what i do either, i just need a better search and better tagging system so i can search for libraries/projects based on MY SEARCH and MY INTERESTS, not based on a biased one developed with AI. what's next? stories?”

“Please don't turn GitHub into Facebook,” writes another. “Please give me an option to completely disable the algorithmic feed and only have the relevant, chronological feed, only from users I follow and repos I participate in.”

It's not all bad, though. A post with 64 upvotes praises the For You feed, writing, “I Love the new idea of for you, good luck.” 

Analysis: Give it some time?

Over time, people often become accustomed to change.

Back in 2006, Facebook introduced News Feed to its users, opening them up to increased sharing of their activities. Users revolted against the change, leading to a direct apology from Mark Zuckerberg. 

People came to accept it and the rest, as they say, is history. 

The same will likely be the case for GitHub: the resource is so useful that most developers have few other options and changes like this, even with large pushback from its user base, are probably here to stay. 

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Developers really aren’t loving GitHub’s new algorithmic For You feed

Change is always difficult – big and small – especially when it's forced upon you by a giant corporation. That's what some developers on GitHub are finding out, at least, after the company introduced a personalised For You feed. 

As spotted by The Register, the For You algorithm-based feed hasn't gone down particularly well. The top-voted post from the past few days, with 211 upvotes, simply states: “I don't want algorithmic feed” before listing some reasons. 

The sentiment is echoed elsewhere. All but the third most upvoted post criticised the new For You feed.

All change

“I don't think Github needs facebook/instagram like features,” wrote one user. “I personally don't care about what people like/fork, and i don't want people to know what i do either, i just need a better search and better tagging system so i can search for libraries/projects based on MY SEARCH and MY INTERESTS, not based on a biased one developed with AI. what's next? stories?”

“Please don't turn GitHub into Facebook,” writes another. “Please give me an option to completely disable the algorithmic feed and only have the relevant, chronological feed, only from users I follow and repos I participate in.”

It's not all bad, though. A post with 64 upvotes praises the For You feed, writing, “I Love the new idea of for you, good luck.” 

Analysis: Give it some time?

Over time, people often become accustomed to change.

Back in 2006, Facebook introduced News Feed to its users, opening them up to increased sharing of their activities. Users revolted against the change, leading to a direct apology from Mark Zuckerberg. 

People came to accept it and the rest, as they say, is history. 

The same will likely be the case for GitHub: the resource is so useful that most developers have few other options and changes like this, even with large pushback from its user base, are probably here to stay. 

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Google Docs will now really let you stamp your mark on your work

Making sure your work gets the respect it deserves will soon be a lot easier in Google Docs thanks to a new privacy tool coming to the service.

The word processor tool, part of Google Workspace, has announced users can now add background text identifiers such as watermarks to their documents.

This means that Google Docs users can now mark their work in order to protect copyright, show that the information within is confidential, or simply notify readers that it is a draft or work in progress.

Google Docs watermark

In a blog post outlining the new feature, Google notes that text watermarks will repeat on every page on your document, making it useful for indicating file status.

Users can also include an image watermark, such as a company logo or sign, or include other images above or behind text. To find the new feature, which has no admin control, users simply need to go to Insert > Watermark > Text

The feature will work across other platforms too, as when working with Microsoft Word documents, text watermarks will be preserved when importing or exporting your files.

Google Docs watermark

(Image credit: Google Workspace)

The tool will be available to all Google Workspace customers, as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers, with the rollout starting in January 2022 and due to take a few weeks.

The news should be a boost to legal and high-end businesses dealing in confidential documents, and comes shortly after a further new functionality also looked to add greater depth to Docs that sees a new process for formal document approvals for high-priority files (such as contracts, legal documents and the like), building upon existing comment and suggested edit features.

Google Docs has also recently boosted its citations feature, making the software a more viable choice for students and academics. When adding a citation to an essay or research paper, users will soon be able to search for sources via an in-built database, and then automatically populate the necessary fields (title, publisher, date of publication etc.).

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Turns out a lot of us are really bad at behaving on Zoom calls

After another bumper year for video calls across the world, Zoom has released a series of somewhat surprising facts about some of the oddest facts it has gathered about users in 2021.

The video conferencing platform carried out a global survey and combined the results with its own internal insights to show how we really used Zoom – with some particularly odd findings.

This includes over half (53%) of Zoom users saying it was OK to eat during meetings, 42% saying they have made a call from their beds, and over a quarter (26%) saying they almost never showered before going on a call.

Zoom in 2021

Covering the period of November 15 2020 to November 15 2021, the company's survey discovered that Wednesday was the most popular day of the week for Zoom calls, followed by Tuesday and Thursday.

The average length of a Zoom call was a whopping 54 minutes, with the average meeting size found to be 10 participants.

Zoom, which was used in nearly 200 countries and territories around the world, also found that January 21 2021 was the busiest day of the year for virtual meetings, with February 25 the most popular day for webinars.

Elsewhere, nearly three-quarters (71%) of Zoom users have had to say the phrase “you're on mute” at some point in the last 12 months, with 57% needing to ask if everyone on a call could see their screen.

75% of users said they waved goodbye at the end of their meetings, with outdoor landscapes (26%) proving slightly more popular than blurred backgrounds (25%) or company logos (20%).

Just under half (43%) confessed to only cleaning the part of the room visible on camera, with the same number (43%) of parents having a child show up during a meeting, and 36% saying they have had a pet show up during a meeting.

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