As expected, Microsoft just announced Teams, what the company calls its new “chat-based workspace.” Like the popular Slack, Teams allows users, across countries and continents, to collaborative on a variety of projects.
If you’ve ever used Slack or even Microsoft’s own Yammer app, then Teams should be familiar — though having used those apps, it’s easy to appreciate the app’s thoughtful additions.
Teams creates a single place for teams and organizations to converse and work on projects through a chat interface. Unlike Slack, however, conversations in Microsoft Teams looks more like Facebook News Feed posts. Once a user posts something, everyone else can comment on it. Those posts are sorted in a way that makes it easy to see how comments relate to specific topics. Skype, as well as all of Microsoft’s other Office 365 tools, are deeply integrated into the app. In the case of Skype, Teams allows users to easily jump into video conferences directly from the app.
It’s here that Teams looks to differentiate itself the most. A tabbed interface at the top of the app allows users to pin content they think other members of their organization will revisit often. A news organization like MobileSyrup, for instance, could pin its editorial calendar and style guide — in this case, an Excel spreadsheet and Word document, respectively — to the top of the app’s interface. Microsoft says Teams will support third-party apps, not just Office 365 apps.
A preview of Microsoft of Teams is available starting today. Microsoft will open up the app to all Office 365 Enterprise and Small Business Suite subscriptions starting early next year.