Whether you want to video chat on Zoom, Google Meet, or Cisco, you’ll run into a problem with free levels – delays of one hour or less. Good for a quick business reunion, but not so great for social-distanced family gatherings like Thanksgiving. Microsoft Teams has a solution. Free video chat with a huge 24 hour limit, all without installing any software.
While a person will need to install the Teams software and sign in with a Microsoft account to set up a group for family and friends, anyone can jump in if they want to. Thanks to a new feature introduced by Microsoft, if someone is not in your Teams group, you can add them with a phone number and they will receive chat messages as an SMS.
If they prefer a more complete experience, Microsoft’s new web browser option will do the trick, too. Just go to the site and anyone can chat or make a video call without downloading the full software. Microsoft even supports 49-person group chats with its Together Mode feature. Fashion Set presents a view of everyone in the same room seated in chairs.
But one of the most notable new features is Microsoft’s new video call duration limit. 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 will allow you to continue the call for 24 hours. It should be much longer than most everyone needs.
You can also set up GPS notifications so teams can notify you when someone leaves or arrives at their home. They’ll need the mobile apps (for iOS and Android) installed for this to work, but that means Teams can replace other software, GPS trackers.
While Teams has long worked as something closer to a Slack competitor, and while this continues to be true, these updates allow it to be complemented directly with Zoom and other video collaboration software. But given how deep into the global pandemic we are, it’s too early to tell if all the freebies will be enough to convince anyone to change.