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Microsoft Teams brings in custom backgrounds to video calls, scheduled meetings and other features

Microsoft Teams has brought in an array of custom backgrounds with the growing demand for video conferencing in the backdrop of COVID 19.

twitter-logoYasmin Ahmed | June 17, 2020 | Updated 19:43 IST
(Source: Microsoft)

Highlights

  • One of the most prominent updates that the app has brought in is the custom background during a video call.
  • This update is in addition to the Blur background option that was introduced to Teams last year.
  • Other new updates include scheduling a meeting by sharing links and invites.

The coronavirus crisis gave a whole new meaning to video conferencing as more and more people began working from home. Some employees have slowly started resuming offices as the lockdown got lifted but the work from home period has still not ended for many.

Microsoft Teams has brought in a range of new features to take on Zoom, Google Duo, Meet, and other video conferencing apps.

One of the most prominent updates that the app has brought in is the custom background during a video call. Last year Teams had introduced the option to blur background during video calls. Now, the users will get the option to add custom pictures to their video calls.

"Today, we're expanding these options so you can customize your background by uploading your own images or choosing one of the collections of backgrounds now available online," Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365 in a blog post stated.

The blog further stated, "Teams uses a highly trained model that differentiates the subject from their background and can impose a custom background over everything else, making it easy and fast to start expressing yourself in all your meetings,"

To upload a custom photo during a video call, users should go to:

--More actions

--Show background effects

--Click on add new

Microsoft has an array of options when it comes to selecting backgrounds. It has also come up with LGBTQI+ backgrounds for the month of pride that can be accessed from 16th June onwards.

"Our Microsoft designers created 20 virtual backgrounds for you to show your pride and support for the LGBTQI+ community. Download their colorful creations on Tuesday, June 16, at microsoft.com/pride," the blog noted.

Microsoft has also brought in updates for its users who use its free version extensively. One such update is scheduling meetings in advance for current users. The users can schedule meetings by sharing links, sending an invite via Outlook, or Google calendar. For users who are signing up, the feature will soon be available, the blog read.

Users can schedule meetings by selecting a date and time on Outlook's calendar and click on Schedule.

Microsoft Teams customers in the US will have an option to turn on the Live Caption. The feature aims at making conversations "more inclusive, giving participants another way to follow along with the conversation and address the needs of participants with different hearing abilities or language proficiencies."

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