Windows 11 steals a great Microsoft Teams feature for better video calls

Windows 11 is set to get one of Microsoft Team’s best features, thanks to “Voice Clarity”, which will use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to make your voice in calls and recordings much clearer.

Microsoft Teams, an app that many people use for video calls, has a very similar feature that does an excellent job at minimizing and eliminating background noises for people in noisy environments, ensuring they can be heard clearly.

With the feature being so acclaimed, it’s little surprise to see Microsoft bring it to the wider Windows 11 operating system, which would allow the feature to work with other video calling apps. Voice Clarity was announced at Microsoft’s recent ‘Hybrid Work’ event as one of the ways the company is making its products better for people who are now spending their time working from home, as well as in an office.

While the noise-canceling features in Microsoft Teams have proved popular, there’s not a huge amount of love for the application itself, so bringing it to Windows 11 itself could prove a popular move.


Analysis: There’s always a catch

Surface Laptop Studio

(Image credit: Future)

While the idea of making Voice Clarity available to more apps and users, the catch is that at the moment, the feature will only work on the Surface Laptop Studio, a relatively niche product from Microsoft.

That’s certainly a shame, as it means that the vast majority of Windows 11 users still won’t be able to make use of the feature.

It’s a bit of a puzzling decision, and we’ve contacted Microsoft to ask why this is the case. It may be due to some hardware-specific requirements that only the Surface Laptop Studio has. Or, Microsoft could just be limiting the availability of the feature to help boost interest in the Surface Laptop Studio.

But, with an increasing number of us relying on video calls for keeping in contact with friends, family and co-workers, any tools that can help make those calls better is certainly welcome, and we’d love to see Microsoft make the Voice Clarity feature more widely available.

Via Windows Latest

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Windows 11 steals a great Microsoft Teams feature for better video calls

Windows 11 is set to get one of Microsoft Team’s best features, thanks to “Voice Clarity”, which will use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to make your voice in calls and recordings much clearer.

Microsoft Teams, an app that many people use for video calls, has a very similar feature that does an excellent job at minimizing and eliminating background noises for people in noisy environments, ensuring they can be heard clearly.

With the feature being so acclaimed, it’s little surprise to see Microsoft bring it to the wider Windows 11 operating system, which would allow the feature to work with other video calling apps. Voice Clarity was announced at Microsoft’s recent ‘Hybrid Work’ event as one of the ways the company is making its products better for people who are now spending their time working from home, as well as in an office.

While the noise-canceling features in Microsoft Teams have proved popular, there’s not a huge amount of love for the application itself, so bringing it to Windows 11 itself could prove a popular move.


Analysis: There’s always a catch

Surface Laptop Studio

(Image credit: Future)

While the idea of making Voice Clarity available to more apps and users, the catch is that at the moment, the feature will only work on the Surface Laptop Studio, a relatively niche product from Microsoft.

That’s certainly a shame, as it means that the vast majority of Windows 11 users still won’t be able to make use of the feature.

It’s a bit of a puzzling decision, and we’ve contacted Microsoft to ask why this is the case. It may be due to some hardware-specific requirements that only the Surface Laptop Studio has. Or, Microsoft could just be limiting the availability of the feature to help boost interest in the Surface Laptop Studio.

But, with an increasing number of us relying on video calls for keeping in contact with friends, family and co-workers, any tools that can help make those calls better is certainly welcome, and we’d love to see Microsoft make the Voice Clarity feature more widely available.

Via Windows Latest

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

This cringeworthy Microsoft Teams feature could soon be forced upon you

Microsoft is readying an update for collaboration platform Teams that will allow admins to change the way meetings are displayed for all attendees.

As explained in a new entry to the company’s product roadmap, meeting hosts will soon be given the option to enable Together Mode for all participants. The update is still under development, but should take effect by the end of May.

Launched in the summer of 2020, Together Mode for Microsoft Teams brings all attendees into a shared virtual background, with the goal of “making it feel like you’re sitting in the same soom with everyone else”.

Together Mode

Together Mode in Microsoft Teams. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Together Mode in Microsoft Teams

Although the ambition behind Together Mode is a noble one, the execution leaves plenty to be desired. In this writer’s opinion, the virtual background filled with floating heads only serves to emphasize the fact a meeting is not, in fact, taking place in-person.

While Microsoft’s AI system does a decent enough job of cutting out each person’s home office background, and some people will get on with the feature better than others, there’s an welcome strangeness to the final result.

The idea that meeting hosts should be able to dictate that everyone uses the feature is particularly strange. While there’s something to be said for operating on a level playing field, some users are bound to find the feature more helpful (or unhelpful) than others, which makes a blanket policy counterproductive.

However, not all of Microsoft’s attempts to introduce variety to the way Teams meetings are displayed have been quite so divisive.

Last year, the company rolled out a series of new presenter modes designed to help Teams users flex their presentation style to the occasion. Standout Mode, for example, seats the presenter’s video feed in front of the slide deck, while Reporter Mode places content above the shoulder in the style of a news broadcast.

The features were an example of the way in which virtual backgrounds and clever positioning of content can legitimately improve the quality of video meetings, delivering on Microsoft’s stated ambition to “help presenters deliver content more professionally and offer meeting participants dynamic experiences”.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

This cringeworthy Microsoft Teams feature could soon be forced upon you

Microsoft is readying an update for collaboration platform Teams that will allow admins to change the way meetings are displayed for all attendees.

As explained in a new entry to the company’s product roadmap, meeting hosts will soon be given the option to enable Together Mode for all participants. The update is still under development, but should take effect by the end of May.

Launched in the summer of 2020, Together Mode for Microsoft Teams brings all attendees into a shared virtual background, with the goal of “making it feel like you’re sitting in the same soom with everyone else”.

Together Mode

Together Mode in Microsoft Teams. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Together Mode in Microsoft Teams

Although the ambition behind Together Mode is a noble one, the execution leaves plenty to be desired. In this writer’s opinion, the virtual background filled with floating heads only serves to emphasize the fact a meeting is not, in fact, taking place in-person.

While Microsoft’s AI system does a decent enough job of cutting out each person’s home office background, and some people will get on with the feature better than others, there’s an welcome strangeness to the final result.

The idea that meeting hosts should be able to dictate that everyone uses the feature is particularly strange. While there’s something to be said for operating on a level playing field, some users are bound to find the feature more helpful (or unhelpful) than others, which makes a blanket policy counterproductive.

However, not all of Microsoft’s attempts to introduce variety to the way Teams meetings are displayed have been quite so divisive.

Last year, the company rolled out a series of new presenter modes designed to help Teams users flex their presentation style to the occasion. Standout Mode, for example, seats the presenter’s video feed in front of the slide deck, while Reporter Mode places content above the shoulder in the style of a news broadcast.

The features were an example of the way in which virtual backgrounds and clever positioning of content can legitimately improve the quality of video meetings, delivering on Microsoft’s stated ambition to “help presenters deliver content more professionally and offer meeting participants dynamic experiences”.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Microsoft Teams may just help you get out of that dull work meeting

Sitting through another unnecessary Microsoft Teams call may soon be a thing of the past thanks to a new addition to the service.

Microsoft has revealed it is working on a feature for its video conferencing tool that will allow users to adapt their Microsoft Teams status ahead of proposed meetings.

The feature should mean that users will be able to flag when they are free for a Microsoft Teams meeting, or alternately when they are too busy to attend, or are out of the office.

Microsoft Teams Calendar update

In the official Microsoft 365 roadmap entry for the new feature, officially titled, “Microsoft Teams: Calendar Show As in meetings”, Microsoft explains how it could benefit users with packed schedules.

The company notes how it would allow both organizers and participants of a Microsoft Teams meeting to choose a “Calendar Show As” status to reflect their availability, with options including free, busy or OOF. 

Organizers will also be able to select private meeting functionality, which will allow users to hide meeting details from other users when their calendar is shared.

The feature is still listed as in development for now, with Microsoft estimating a general release date in June 2022. The company says that, when available, the addition will be provided to all PC and Mac users.

The update is the latest in a series of features introduced by Microsoft in an attempt to make hybrid working and online collaboration less painful for users across the globe.

The company recently revealed a separate update entitled “working hours and location” will allow users to set a notice showing where they are working, whether that be at home, in the office, or anywhere else in particular, giving managers more visibility on where their key employees are.

Users of its Outlook email service will also be able to display a second calendar type, with the company noting that users will have “a variety of global calendars” to choose from, including the likes of the Chinese lunar calendar, Indian calendar and the Islamic calendar will soon be available as options within Outlook, so certain holidays or observances are not missed.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Hopefully you’ll never have to use this Microsoft Teams update

Highlighting emergency calls through Microsoft Teams should soon be a lot easier thanks to a new update coming to the service.

The video conferencing platform will soon allow admins to create customizable banners within Microsoft Teams that will alert users when an emergency call is coming through.

This should help such calls stand out immediately to users, particularly if their attention is divided between a number of other tasks.

Microsoft Teams emergency

In its official entry on the Microsoft 365 roadmap, the company notes that users will be able to acknowledge their admin's message by clicking on the banner within a Microsoft Teams call.

This will allow admins to phrase or word the alerts however they need to, which could be extremely handy for schools or industrial customers, who might have entirely different emergency categorizations.

The feature is still in development for now, but Microsoft has set an expected release date of April 2022, meaning it could arrive soon.

Upon launch, the feature will be available for Microsoft Teams users across the world on desktop and Mac platforms.

The news is one of a long series of improvements and upgrades made to Microsoft Teams in recent months as the company looks to ensure hybrid and remote workers are still able to get the most out of its collaboration tool.

Perhaps most usefully, Microsoft recently revealed that Teams users will soon be able to mute notifications whilst they are in a video conferencing meeting or don't want to be disturbed.

On a similar note, another upgrade concerns the addition of chat bubbles so that users wouldn't miss private messages sent during a video call, both 1:1 or as part of a group call.

Recent figures from the company suggest that Microsoft Teams now boasts over 270 million monthly active users (MAUs), as the hybrid working age continues to drive the platform from strength to strength.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

The best Microsoft Teams goodies will soon be available to all of us

Microsoft is readying an update for its online collaboration platform Teams that will help close the gap between the desktop app and web client.

As explained in a rather cryptic roadmap entry, the “modern meeting experience” will soon be made available to those that access Microsoft Teams via their web browser. In an email exchange with TechRadar Pro, a Microsoft spokesperson clarified precisely what this will entail.

“This ‘modern meeting experience’ update brings features currently available in desktop to web. This includes the modern meeting stage views like Dynamic View, Large Gallery, and Together Mode, as well as the ability to switch amongst those selections. In addition to that, there are updates to the pre-join experience and the control bar,” we were told.

Microsoft Teams for the web

Microsoft began trialling the “modern meeting experience” on the web in February, but is now preparing for a full rollout in June, after which users of the Teams web app will have access to the same breadth of functionality as anyone else.

More specifically, web users will benefit from features like Large Gallery view, which allows for as many as 49 people to appear on-screen at once, and Together Mode, which places all attendees on a common virtual background.

The update will also give web client users new presentation options in the form of Dynamic View, a feature that allows for elements of the meeting screen to be moved around and resized depending on the content being shared.

Lastly, the Teams web app will give users new options in the pre-meeting landing page that will make it easier to select audio and video sources before dialling into a session. 

More broadly, the update can be seen as part of Microsoft’s efforts to ensure the meeting experience is consistent for all Teams users, no matter which client or hardware they are using to dial in. Beyond the upcoming web app update, the company has made a number of additions with this goal in mind.

In recent weeks, for example, Microsoft has announced the expansion of the transcription feature to customers running Teams in a virtual machine, and an update that will improve the meeting experience on Mozilla Firefox. And previously, the company revealed plans to offer up important accessibility features to a wider range of attendees.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Our favorite Microsoft Teams feature is coming to more users

Microsoft is preparing an update for collaboration platform Teams that will extend access to of the most useful features to a wider range of users.

As explained in a new entry in the company’s product roadmap, Microsoft is bringing the meeting transcription service to customers running Teams on virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

The update is currently scheduled to take effect in June, after which employees using virtual machines will have full access to the feature.

Microsoft Teams update

The transcription feature was first made available to Teams users roughly a year ago, giving meeting attendees an easy way to review the conversation after the fact. It also gives anyone either late to join or unable to participate the ability to catch up after a meeting has concluded.

“Live transcripts provide a way to follow along with what has been said and who said it. After a meeting, the transcript file is automatically saved in the chat tab for that meeting,” the roadmap entry explains.

Until now, the feature has been available exclusively to employees running the standard Microsoft Teams clients for desktop and mobile, excluding the fairly sizable section of users running Teams out of a virtual machine.

With the upcoming update, however, Microsoft will ensure that all users are able to benefit from the functionality.

The broad objective is to ensure the meeting experience is consistent for all Microsoft Teams users, no matter which client or hardware they are using to dial in. Beyond the transcription feature, the company has made a number of recent additions with this goal in mind.

For example, Microsoft recently extended access to background blur to VDI users, announced an update that will improve the meeting experience on Mozilla Firefox, and enabled the live captions feature for guest users.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Microsoft Teams will finally play nice with Mozilla Firefox

Using Microsoft Teams on Mozilla Firefox could soon be a much nicer experience after a number of key features were announced to be finally coming to the browser.

The company has said it is working on bringing what it called “improved meeting support” for Teams users looking to work with the Firefox browser.

This includes full audio and screensharing support for any Microsoft Teams meetings carried out in Firefox, which up until now has struggled to allow users to utilize the video conferencing tool to its full strength.

Microsoft Teams and Firefox

In the Microsoft 365 roadmap entry, the update is still said to be in development, however the company says it should roll out by the end of April, meaning users should not have to wait too long.

Firefox had been one of a number of browsers unable to fully support Microsoft Teams calls, alongside the likes of Safari and Internet Explorer. 

Anyone attempting to join a Teams meeting using Firefox would be directed towards downloading the software's desktop client, a somewhat more lengthy process that could make you late for a call.

Although some users of these browsers may have been able to join a Microsoft Teams call, they would have had to deal with a potential lack of video or audio, as well as lacking desktop, window and app sharing.

When available, Microsoft says the upgraded experience will be available to all Teams users in the Firefox browser across the world. 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.

Microsoft Teams has enjoyed a regular schedule of updates and upgrades in recent months as the company looks to ensure its platform remains on top of its game.

The news follows a similar recent update from the company revealing that Microsoft Teams apps will soon be available on Office.com and the Office for Windows app as the company looks to further expand the reach of its video conferencing service. This should help improve the user experience for Teams customers around the world, meaning there’s no longer a need to switch between platforms to use specific apps.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Microsoft Teams will finally play nice with Mozilla Firefox

Using Microsoft Teams on Mozilla Firefox could soon be a much nicer experience after a number of key features were announced to be finally coming to the browser.

The company has said it is working on bringing what it called “improved meeting support” for Teams users looking to work with the Firefox browser.

This includes full audio and screensharing support for any Microsoft Teams meetings carried out in Firefox, which up until now has struggled to allow users to utilize the video conferencing tool to its full strength.

Microsoft Teams and Firefox

In the Microsoft 365 roadmap entry, the update is still said to be in development, however the company says it should roll out by the end of April, meaning users should not have to wait too long.

Firefox had been one of a number of browsers unable to fully support Microsoft Teams calls, alongside the likes of Safari and Internet Explorer. 

Anyone attempting to join a Teams meeting using Firefox would be directed towards downloading the software's desktop client, a somewhat more lengthy process that could make you late for a call.

Although some users of these browsers may have been able to join a Microsoft Teams call, they would have had to deal with a potential lack of video or audio, as well as lacking desktop, window and app sharing.

When available, Microsoft says the upgraded experience will be available to all Teams users in the Firefox browser across the world. 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.

Microsoft Teams has enjoyed a regular schedule of updates and upgrades in recent months as the company looks to ensure its platform remains on top of its game.

The news follows a similar recent update from the company revealing that Microsoft Teams apps will soon be available on Office.com and the Office for Windows app as the company looks to further expand the reach of its video conferencing service. This should help improve the user experience for Teams customers around the world, meaning there’s no longer a need to switch between platforms to use specific apps.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More