Microsoft Teams update brings some of the best features to more users

Microsoft Teams
(Image credit: Shutterstock / monticello)

Microsoft has announced a number of popular features for its Teams video conferencing suite will now be available to more users.

In an effort to appeal to small businesses, the firm has brought background effects to the web version of Teams, meaning users will no longer have to download the desktop client or mobile app to gain access.

These effects include the ability to blur the background and add custom wallpapers behind the speaker, which Microsoft says should make calls “more fun and personal.” 

This comes less than two weeks after Microsoft updated the machine learning updates to its AI-powered audio enhancements, including reducing echo and reverberation.

Accessibility upgrades to Microsoft Teams

In addition to gaining access to background effects, users of Teams on the web will now be able to follow along with meetings in real-time with CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) captioning inside the Teams window.

Previously, CART captions opened in a new window, which made it more challenging to watch a call’s attendees and live transcriptions simultaneously. 

Additionally, further languages have been added to live captions, alongside speaker attribution in Teams online. Now supporting 27 languages - including Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, and Hindi - Microsoft hopes this will boost meeting engagement.

Microsoft Teams live transcript

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Finally, live transcription also supports a much wider range of languages. This accessibility tool promises to aid participants who are hard of hearing, and those with limited language proficiency.

Late attendees to the call - and even no-shows - can catch up on previous discussions using the live transcription feature, provided it has been enabled by the call administrator.

Live transcriptions are currently available for customers with the following accounts: Office 365 E1, Office 365 A1, Office 365/Microsoft 365 A3, Office 365/Microsoft 365 A5, Microsoft 365 E3, Microsoft 365 E5, Microsoft 365 F1, Office 365/Microsoft 365 F3, Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Microsoft 365 Business Standard, and Microsoft 365 Business Premium.

Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!