Whether you want to video chat on Zoom, Google Meet or Cisco, you’ll encounter a problem with free levels: delays of an hour or less. Good for a quick business reunion, but not so great for family parties with a social distance, like Thanksgiving. Microsoft Teams has a solution. Free video chatting with a huge 24-hour limit, all without installing software.
Although someone needs to install the Teams software and sign in with a Microsoft account to set up a group for family and friends, anyone can join if they want to. Thanks to a new feature introduced by Microsoft, if someone isn’t in your Teams group, you can add a phone number and receive instant messages as text messages.
If they prefer a more complete experience, Microsoft’s new web browser option will also be enough. Just go to the site and anyone can chat or make a video call without downloading the full software. Microsoft even supports group chats of 49 people with the Together Mode feature. Fashion Set gives a picture of everyone in the same room sitting on chairs.
But one of the most notable new features is the new limit for the duration of Microsoft video calls. While Zoom limits you to 40 minutes (except this Thanksgiving), Google Meet limits you to one hour and Cisco Webex limits you to 50 minutes, Microsoft allows you to continue the conversation for 24 hours. It should be much longer than almost everyone needs.
You can also set up GPS notifications so teams can alert you when someone leaves or arrives at their home. To do this, they need the installed mobile apps (for iOS and Android), but that means Teams can replace other software, GPS trackers.
Although Teams has long worked as something closer to a Slack competitor, and while this remains true, these updates can be supplemented directly with Zoom and other video collaboration software. But given how deep we are in the global pandemic, it’s too early to say whether all the free gifts will be enough to convince someone to change.