Microsoft announces Together Mode for Teams, putting people in a big virtual room


Together Mode showing a coffee shop with unreasonably low chairs

Today, Microsoft is making some big announcements for its Teams collaboration service. The major feature being introduced is called Together Mode. The new feature will take multiple meeting participants and put them all on top of a shared background. This can be good for a brainstorm or round-table discussion, and it can even work for a classroom environment.

It uses AI segmentation to place you on top of the background, but it does more than that. It uses gaze correction as well, so eye contact should feel more natural. Microsoft says that this will help you to pick up on body language and non-verbal cues.

Together Mode with auditorium view is rolling out now, and it will be generally available in August, with more views coming in the future.

Then there's Dynamic View. Also using AI, this will adjust what the viewer sees based on what's happening, also giving you more control over what people will see. You can show shared content and specific participants side-by-side, and so on.

There are a bunch of other new features. Video filters are going to be a thing in meetings, and that's exactly what it sounds like. You can use filters to adjust lighting, colors, and more. There are also Live Reactions, letting you use emojis that will be shown to everyone. This is a part of PowerPoint Live Presentations, which is also coming to Teams. There will also be chat bubbles added on top of people when they type in the chat.

Live captions are getting some big improvements. Live transcripts are coming later this year, so after the meeting, you'll just be able to download a transcript of everything that was said. It's also getting speaker attribution, so when reading captions and transcripts, you can see who was speaking.

Other improvements include meetings with up to 20,000 participants, Whiteboard improvements, a Tasks app, suggested replies, and Cortana being added to Teams. Most of these features are slated to arrive later this month.

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