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Microsoft now introduces new custom background effects in Teams to take on Zoom

The tech giant aims to help its users to customize their video experiences in order to make meetings more productive, comfortable and fun.

With the penetration of remote learning owing to the increasingly adverse impact of COVID-19 pandemic, people resorted to using platforms like Microsoft Teams to work and learn remotely. With a sharp surge in total video calls in Teams, Microsoft got inspired to introduce some new features that will help the users to customize their video experiences and make meetings more productive, comfortable, and fun. In what seems to be a step to take on Zoom Meeting, Microsoft has finally rolled out of new custom background effects along with other new features in the free version of Teams.

Microsoft Teams custom background effects will help everyone preserve privacy and keep their attention on their teammates. According to Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365, “Our design team also created a collection of preset images that range from professional (a modern office) to pretty silly (a cartoonish beach scene). Today, we’re expanding these options so you can customize your background by uploading your own images or choosing one of the collections of backgrounds now available online.”

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For this, Microsoft Teams has used a highly-trained model that differentiates the subject from their background and can impose a custom background over everything else. As per the tech major, the introduction of custom background effects enables users to easily express themselves in all the virtual meetings.

With so many people moving suddenly to remote work, Microsoft is also bringing several new features to the free version of Teams as well. This includes options to pre-schedule your meetings and turning on live caption while the meeting is on.

As far as option to schedule meetings in is concerned, Microsoft stated that the users of free version of Team are now able to schedule meetings and send out invitations in advance. This capability builds upon the existing ability to “Meet Now.” Meeting schedulers have the option of either copying the meeting link to send directly to other participants or sending an invite via Outlook or Google calendar.

Microsoft further notified that this much-requested capability to schedule meetings on Teams is being introduced to current user, while users who are just signing up now will be able to experience it soon. Moreover, the tech major also clarified that there is no time limit on meetings in the free version of Teams as of now.

Now, moving on to usage of live captions, Microsoft Teams free users can now turn on live captions during their calls and meetings. “This feature makes meetings more inclusive, giving participants another way to follow along with the conversation and address the needs of participants with different hearing abilities or language proficiencies. It’s currently available as a preview in the US English,” said Spataro.

In addition to these features, the free version of Teams also provides all types of organizations up to 500,000 users with options to unlimited chat and search, audio and video calling, scheduled meetings, 10GB team file storage and 2GB personal file storage per person, ability to use the Office web apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote), unlimited app integration and much more. Mind you! It’s all backed by Microsoft’s secure, global infrastructure.

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