Microsoft Teams will gain the ability to add custom backgrounds to video calls, say reports. The feature is rumored to launch sometime this year, building on existing features.

Last year, Teams introduced the ability to blur backgrounds while in a chat. The idea was to keep the focus on the user while removing worries about untidy surroundings. Custom backgrounds will improve that privacy screen while adding a fun flair.

However, it’s worth noting that the background blur feature launched in Skype just like week. It took several weeks to port the feature over, but it stands to reason that custom backgrounds will launch on the platform, too.

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Such features will help to differentiate Teams and Skype from competitors like Slack, but the addition has not been confirmed officially by Microsoft. The information comes from Petri’s Brad Sams, though, who is famously reliable and known to have good sources.

Improvements Needed

Of course, ‘sometime this year’ isn’t a particularly accurate release date. It’s likely Microsoft itself is unsure, as the technology could do with some refinement. In our testing, we’ve found that background blur is quite accurate in most cases, but can aggressively act on things that should be in focus.

This isn’t particularly noticeable when it’s a soft blur, but inaccurate detections are likely to be noticeable when the whole background is replaced. Ultimately, this is a new area for video, and it’ll pay for Microsoft to get it right.

You can play around with background blur in Microsoft Teams and Skype via download from their official websites.

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