If you use Microsoft Teams on Windows you can now preview the completely reworked app. This is an overhauling of the Teams experience and the service has been rebuilt entirely. Yes, that is the same renovation of the app that I first reported on in February. Microsoft says it is working on bringing Teams 2.0 to Mac soon but the revamp is currently exclusive to Windows.
“The new Teams is faster, simpler, and more flexible than ever before,” says Sumi Singh, CVP of engineering for Microsoft Teams, in an interview with The Verge. “We've made tremendous strides in performance and usability. The new Teams is 2x faster while using 50 percent fewer resources.”
The new Microsoft Teams experience focuses on performance improvements more than adding a glut of new features. That's not really a problem as since 2021, Microsoft has rolled out new features at a rate of more than one per day.
Microsoft points out the team app will now install 3x faster on Windows and launch/join meetings two times faster. The app also has a less of an impact on system resources, consuming 50 percetn less memory and 70 percent less disk space.
Singh explains that Microsoft was working on making these improvements years ago, but the rapid growth of Teams during the pandemic meant it had to scale the service to keep up with demand.
“At that point in time we had to scale out what we had, as the video usage and live meeting demands skyrocketed,” adds Singh. “What we started doing is finding places in the current client where we could bring some of these breakthroughs and foundational technologies.”
“The key benefits observed from the transition from Electron to WebView2 include reduced memory usage and a lowered disk footprint as resources are shared with Edge,” explains Microsoft Teams engineers in a blog post about the new architecture. “The decision to transition from AngularJS to React was primarily based on performance characteristics and benchmarking results specific to our use cases. We observed that React has been a better fit for our scenarios and it has been a beneficial move for the application's overall performance.”
On the front end of the new Microsoft Teams, users will see a new UI that matches the aesthetics of Windows 11. The canvas color is now white instead of grey, which dark mode will toggle automatically when Windows 11 is set to dark. Microsoft has also added a drop down menu that allows you to see all accounts and notifications in one place.
AI is informing all areas of Microsoft now, and Teams is no different. Microsoft 365 Copilot debuted this month on Teams and other Office apps. It leverages OpenAI's GPT-4 AI engine to provide task automation.
“The AI experiences all require very fast iteration and experimentation,” explains Singh. “You won't get it perfect the first time so there's a lot of supervised learning, unsupervised learning, learning from the users, so this architecture really sets us up well to really do that.”
Microsoft 365 Copilot for Teams will become an extra member of every meeting, a functioning and interactive participant. Microsoft says the AI will help by summarizing meetings with highlights for key actions and moments.
Tip of the day: It's a good idea to backup your computer on a regular basis, and the most fool-proof way is to manually create a disk image and save it to an external hard drive.