In its latest effort to detract users from using rival video conferencing service (opens in new tab) Zoom, Microsoft is making an all new all-day video calling option available for free in Microsoft Teams (opens in new tab) that won't require participants to download its app.
Earlier this year the software giant launched the mobile version of Microsoft Teams for consumers and now the company is brining the service's friends and family features to the desktop and web. This means that users will be able to create a Teams meeting for up to 300 participants (opens in new tab) that can run all day free of charge.
At the same time, participants won't need a Microsoft Account or have to download the Teams app to join calls as this can be done for free using a web browser.
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Additionally, Microsoft Teams will support seeing up to 49 friends or family members at the same time in a gallery view or through its Together Mode (opens in new tab) feature which puts participants side by side in a virtual space such as a auditorium, meeting room or coffee bar.
With Thanksgiving fast approaching in the US and the holidays a little more than a month away, Microsoft is now positioning Teams as a way for families to get together virtually as opposed to doing so in person which even the CDC has cautioned against.
While Microsoft turned its attention to enterprise users first with the improvements its made to Teams earlier this year, the company is now shifting its focus to attract consumers to the service as well and a long 24-hour meeting length limit may do the trick.
This is because rival video conferencing services all have much shorter limits on how long users can hold a meeting for. For instance, Zoom (opens in new tab) has a 40-minute limit, Google Meet (opens in new tab) has a 60-minute limit and Cisco Webex (opens in new tab) has a 50-minute limit. Zoom has a similar mindset to Microsoft as the company has announced that it will temporarily lift its meeting limit but only between midnight on Thanksgiving until 6am the following day.
Although users could turn to Microsoft's Skype Meet Now (opens in new tab) service to quickly start video calls from within their browsers during the holidays, having everyone use the same service make a lot more sense which is likely why it has increased Teams' meeting limit to 24 hours.
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Via The Verge (opens in new tab)