Microsoft is significantly improving its free version of Microsoft Teams on Windows 11 today. The built-in Teams app will now support Microsoft’s community feature within Teams, the company’s answer to Facebook and Discord. It also gets support for Microsoft Designer, the AI art tool that lets you generate images for things like event invites or social media posts using text prompts.
Microsoft Teams Communities originally launched in December for family and friends — or small community groups and businesses — to host meetings, calendars, and chat. It’s Microsoft’s answer to what you might find on Facebook or how people use Discord, WhatsApp, Reddit and many other services to organize groups.
Microsoft Teams’ community feature has been limited to mobile so far, but today’s expansion allows Windows 11 users to create and manage communities within Teams. “On Windows 11, community owners can create communities from scratch, share and invite members, create and host events, manage content with critical trust and safety features, and be notified of all important activity,” said Amit Fulay, Vice president of Microsoft Teams, out. Product, in a blog post. Microsoft plans to extend community support to Windows 10, macOS, and even the web soon.
A preview version of Microsoft Designer will also be available in the built-in version of Microsoft Teams on Windows 11. Designer can be useful for communities to create event invitation graphics or even community banners in Teams. It’s the same service that integrates into Microsoft Edge, combining some DALL-E and Adobe Express-like features to generate basic AI-powered graphics.
In addition to the Windows 11 expansion, communities in Teams are also getting some mobile and general usability improvements. You can now record videos from a mobile device with formatting tools and filters, and in the coming days you’ll find recommended communities to join on iOS, Android, and Windows 11. Microsoft is also adding polls to communities in Teams and improving the moderation aspects of who can join an owner community.
Microsoft is also updating GroupMe, the mobile messaging service for groups that Microsoft bought when it bought Skype in 2011. GroupMe, which Fulay says is still used by “millions of people every day,” is getting support for calling through Microsoft Teams. This means you can now make Teams calls in GroupMe chats and join group video calls.