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Windows Central
Windows Central
Sean Endicott

Microsoft Teams catches up with Slack, infuses AI, and FINALLY adds custom emoji support

Microsoft Teams on Windows.

What you need to know

  • Microsoft announced several new and upcoming Teams features during Build 2024.
  • Teams Premium users have new AI features, including the option to have AI-generated recaps made from meetings that were only set to be transcribed, rather than recorded.
  • Custom app and web experiences powered by Teams are more capable as well, and now support features such as real-time transcription and support for PowerPoint Live.
  • Custom emoji support, slash commands, and several other features are on the way to Teams and Loop.

Microsoft unveiled new features for Microsoft Teams at Build 2024. The improvements to Teams include everything from AI capabilities such as using intelligent recap in meetings with only transcription enabled to Live Reactions within custom app experiences connect to Teams. Many of the new features are already generally available, while others will ship gradually over the coming weeks and months.

There is a TON of Microsoft news this week, including new Surface devices, arguably the biggest Windows update in decades, and the entirety of the developer-focused Build conference. Here's a quick rundown of what's new and on the way to Teams.

New AI features

  • Intelligent recap support for meetings with only transcription enabled.
  • Meeting organizers will be able to manage who can record and transcribe meetings.
  • Prevent users from sharing content in externally hosted meetings.

The new AI features listed above are exclusive to Microsoft Teams Premium users. Previously, you could only use intelligent recap for meetings that were recorded. With the new capability, you'll be able to get an AI-generated recap even if a meeting was only set to have transcription enabled.

Another transcription-related feature is that meeting organizers will be able to set "Who can record" controls to include transcription.

Lastly, Microsoft Teams now has the option to prevent users  from sharing content within externally hosted meetings. IT admins can set this on a per-meeting basis.

Improvements and new features for custom app experiences

(Image credit: Future)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint Live
  • Live reactions
  • File sharing during a meeting
  • Real-time transcription using Azure AI Speech
  • Close captions
  • Picture-in-picture for iOS and Android
  • Noise suppression during a video call
  • Call Diagnostics Center analysis

Many custom apps and web experiences use Microsoft Teams for communication. There's a good chance that you've chatted with someone through Teams without knowing the specific service that powered the back end of the video call or chat. These experiences are common among healthcare providers and in some other industries. Microsoft has several new features for custom app experience that are connected to Teams.

All of the new capabilities are straightforward, but welcome, changes to custom app experiences. For example, real-time transcription using Azure AI speech (in preview) can help keep text records, which are requirements for many in medicine and other fields. Closed captions are also useful as they improve accessibility.

PowerPoint Live support and the ability to share files during a meeting make custom app experience a bit closer to the experience you'd expect from Microsoft Teams.

New features in Microsoft Teams and Loop

  • Custom emojis and reactions in Teams
  • Slash commands in the compose box
  • Unfurling permalinks
  • Loop-supported Code Blocks
  • Mermaid integration into Loop Code Blocks
  • Adaptive Card-based Loop components

Microsoft Teams and Loop users have plenty of new features on the way as well, even if they do not subscribe to Teams Premium. Custom emojis have been in the works for a while and are finally going to ship to Teams. These are quite popular in competing platforms, such as Slack, and should be a welcome addition to Teams.

Another Slack-like feature on the way to Teams is support for slash commands. These allow users to use / and a shortcut within the compose box for frequent tasks. Microsoft didn't specify which slash commands will work within Teams, but if support is anything like what's in Slack, the feature will be robust.

Unfurling permalinks, adaptive card-based Loop components, and the other new features in Teams and Loop make a richer experience for users. Adaptive card-based Loop component support is versatile, as it supports components from services such as Trello, Jira, and Confluence Cloud.

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