Whether you want to video chat on Zoom, Google Meet or Cisco, you will run into a problem at free tiers: time limits of one hour or less. Fine for a quick work meeting, but not great for social distant family gatherings like Thanksgiving. Microsoft Teams has a solution. Free video chat with a massive 24-hour limit, all without installing any software.
While one person must install the Teams software and sign in with a Microsoft account to set up a family and friends group, everyone else can skip if they wish. Thanks to a new feature introduced by Microsoft, you can add someone who is not part of your Teams group with a phone number and receive instant messages as SMS.
If they prefer a more complete experience, Microsoft’s new web browser will also suffice. Just navigate to the site and anyone can chat or make video calls without downloading the full software. Microsoft even supports group chats of 49 people with the Together Mode feature. Together mode provides a view of everyone in the same room seated at chairs.
But one of the standout new features is Microsoft’s new video call time limit. While Zoom limits you to 40 minutes (except this Thanksgiving), Google Measure limits you to an hour, and Cisco Webex limits you to 50 minutes, Microsoft lets you keep the conversation going for 24 hours. That should be much longer than almost everyone needs.
You can also set up GPS alerts so teams can notify you when someone is leaving or coming home. For that they need the installed mobile apps (for iOS and Android), but it means that Teams can replace yet another piece of software, GPS trackers.
While Teams has long worked as something closer to a Slack competitor, and while that’s still true, these updates let it complete directly with Zoom and other video collaboration software. But given how far we are in the global pandemic, it’s too early to say if all the freebies will be enough to convince anyone to switch.
Source: Microsoft via The Verge