Microsoft launched the personal version of Microsoft Teams, and after previewing the service for nearly a year, the platform is now available for free personal use among friends and families via mobile devices (Android and iOS) and desktop in addition to the web.
Microsoft Teams may not previously be the first name that comes to mind if you are looking for an alternative communications system for WhatsApp after the controversial change in policy around user data.
But it is now your personal go-to platform for keeping in touch with family and friends, after making a name for itself as a workplace collaboration platform.
The new service is nearly identical to the Microsoft Teams used by companies, and it allows people to chat video calls, and easily share calendars, websites and files.
Microsoft also continues to offer round-the-clock free video calls to everyone, which it introduced in the November preview.
You can meet up to 300 people on video calls which can last for 24 hours, however, this is a temporary advantage of this era of a pandemic.
Microsoft is imposing a 60-minute limit for conference calls for up to 100 people after the pandemic while allowing free 24-hour video calls for interactions between two people.
There is also the possibility to express yourself through gifs, chat animations, and emojis during video calls.
And in case you miss a group video call, the platform saves the text conversation during the group video call.
Microsoft is allowing users of the platform to enable its Together mode, a feature that uses artificial intelligence to divide your face and shoulders and place you with other people in a virtual space.
The personal version of the platform is part of a broader effort by Microsoft to stay connected with consumers after a series of exits from consumer services. The company is not looking to compete with iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or other chatting apps, but the Zoom platform is clearly in its sight after its massive rise during the pandemic.
If you are interested in trying Microsoft Teams for personal use, you can download the iOS, Android, or desktop apps, or head over to the Teams website.