Microsoft feels the need, the need for speed in Teams
Desktop app buckles up for faster switching between chats or channels or join a meeting
Microsoft has rolled out an upgrade for its Teams desktop app, and is claiming a more than 30 percent speed jump when switching between chat and channel threads.
The upgrades Microsoft engineers made to the collaborative software's underlying framework also ramped up the speed of joining a meeting by 21 percent and in-meeting functions, we're told. As an example, the Windows biz has apparently cut the latency involved with raising a hand by 16 percent.
The fact that Redmond feels the need to say this – who notices a hand raising 16 percent faster? – suggests the software was not exactly speedy in the first place.
"The upgrade brings performance benefit to both Windows and Mac desktop users when they are interacting with the application," Jeff Chen, principal PM manager at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post.
The Linux desktop app is being scrapped, by the way. It made it as far as public preview, and will be shut down in December. Teams has a web-based version, for what it's worth.
Speed increases for such functions as switching between different chats, channels, and activity feeds or joining a meeting may not seem like a big deal, but Chen wrote that they are among the most common actions taken by Teams users. It's now 32 percent faster to switch between chat threads than it was two years ago and 39 percent faster for channel switches, we're told.
The US giant has been pushing to improve the performance of its Teams portfolio, particularly in the wake of the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, when so many companies worldwide sent employees home to work in hopes of slowing down the spread of the virus.
Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and other cloud-based collaboration providers saw massive surges in use as remote workers became the norm. Microsoft saw the number of actives users jump from 75 million in 2020 to 145 million last year, and that number sits at 270 million in 2022.
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During a discussion of Microsoft's most recent financial quarter, CEO Satya Nadella claimed Teams was "the de facto standard for collaboration and has become essential to how hundreds of millions of people meet, call, chat, collaborate, and do business."
Nadella said Teams users interact with the software an average of 1,500 times a month and that on a typical day, the average commercial user spends more time in Teams chat than they do in email. In addition, the number of people who use four or more Teams features rose more than 20 percent year-over-year.
Microsoft earlier this week introduced a range of new features in Teams, from the Together mode for assigning seats to meeting participants and an updated companion mode for Android users to detailed call histories, combining Teams and SharePoint site templates, and updated use analytics.
Performance speed continues to be a focus. In June the company talked about improvements made to Teams technology, including transitioning from Angular framework to React, upgrading the Electron framework for building desktop applications, reducing re-rendering work, and enhancing the code.
That helped reduce latencies when scrolling over chat lists (by 11.4 percent) and channel lists (12.1 percent), as well as speeding up the time for loading message-composing boxes by 63 percent.
Also this week, Microsoft fixed an issue that prevented Outlook for Microsoft 365 users from being able to schedule Teams meetings. Normally users can access a Teams Meeting module in the Calendar view through which they can create Teams meetings.
According to Microsoft, the problem occurs when the Teams Meeting add-in becomes disabled.
"When you attempt to create a Teams meeting in Outlook Desktop, you find that the option is missing on the ribbon" menu, the company wrote in a support notice updated this week.
The Teams product group said a fix for this problem was released as of version 1.5.00.28567.
Microsoft also had offered a workaround that involved selecting File in Outlook, then Options, Add-ins, and Manage. From there, users select "Disabled Items" and Go. If Teams is among the listed disabled items, they can select it, hit Enable, and restart Outlook. ®