New Microsoft Teams With Big Performance Improvements and UI Changes

    Microsoft is reworking its Teams app today to make the experience faster and more user-friendly. Microsoft Teams has been completely rebuilt. Businesses can now access a preview of the new design today to see the changes that have been made over the years.

    Sumi Singh, the CVP of engineering at Microsoft Teams, said that “The new Teams are faster, simpler and more flexible than ever before” in an interview with Verge. “We have made great strides in performance, usability. The new Teams are 2x faster and use 50% less resources.

    The new Microsoft Teams app will be installed 3x faster, and the process of joining or launching meetings should take 2x as long. Microsoft claims that the new Microsoft Teams app will use 50% less memory and 70% less disk space. These are significant performance improvements, particularly if you experience slowdowns with the existing Teams “The New Teams Client” 

    Microsoft has been taking into account feedback that Teams was slow or difficult to use. Singh says, “[We hear] that it is very slow, it consumes my battery, and the memory is large… so we go and read all of this feedback and internalize it.” Microsoft had set out to remedy this situation many years ago but also had to scale up the service to accommodate the large number of daily active users that were added during the pandemic.

    Singh recalls, “At that time we had to scale up what we had as video usage and live meetings demands skyrocketed.” “We started by looking for places within the client that we could bring these breakthroughs or foundational technologies to them.”

    Although the existing Microsoft Teams client was moving to React, it wasn’t fully. It still used parts of Angular JS. This meant that the app was loading two JavaScript frameworks which made it slightly heavier than necessary.img alt=”You now have the ability to switch Microsoft Teams accounts easily.

    Microsoft has moved away from Electron foundations for Teams and is now using Microsoft Edge WebView2 technology. This includes a complete move to the React JavaScript Library and a greater focus on the Fluent design language, which can be used to improve UI.

    Today’s blog post by Microsoft Teams engineers explains that the key benefits of the Electron to WebView2 transition include a lower memory usage and a smaller disk footprint because Edge resources are shared. “The decision to switch from AngularJS t to React was primarily based upon performance characteristics and benchmarking results that were specific to our use cases. React was a better choice for our situations and has improved the application’s overall performance.

    All of this has led to a complete overhaul of Microsoft Teams. Singh says that the “data layer, the network layers, how we store data, what are we doing in the foreground, and what we do behind the scenes, as well as the entire video architecture, rendering pipeline, have all been overhauled.” It will be evident and tangible when you actually use it.

    Microsoft has given Teams a visual overhaul to match Windows 11 in addition to performance enhancements. To feel more native Windows 11-like, the new Teams app uses native materials such as Windows 11’s Mica transparency. Microsoft has also changed its canvas color to white, and less purple Teams colors are used throughout. Microsoft Teams will now automatically switch to dark mode. The app also features group profile photos and theming.

    Microsoft Teams’ new look and performance is not all that matters. Microsoft has also made some useful improvements. The new client will allow you to see all your Microsoft Teams accounts and notifications from one drop-down menu. To access different Teams instances, you won’t need to log out or switch tenants.

    Microsoft now makes it easier to have your hands lowered after someone asks a question. Whiteboard will also have the ability to insert Loop components, making it even easier to collaborate. Microsoft Teams will soon have AI-powered video filters, including a variety of animated frames and the ability for you to change your video’s hue during presentations. “Microsoft 365 Copilot” will also be part Microsoft Teams.

    The new Teams client, which is also an AI-powered feature for Teams, will be used as the foundation of Microsoft’s future work. It will include its Copilot assistant as well other AI-powered features. Singh explains that the AI experiences require rapid iteration and experimentation. It’s not possible to get it right the first time, so there is a lot of unsupervised and supervised learning. This architecture really helps us to do that.

    Microsoft has already announced its plans for Copilot in Microsoft Teams. You can invite the AI assistant to group chats to schedule meetings, or to assist with summarizations or general questions. You can also use the business chat function from Copilot in Teams to access data and information across all Microsoft 365 apps and services.

    The preview version of Microsoft’s new Teams client is available today to gather feedback and then be made available later in the year. To access the Microsoft Teams public Preview, businesses will need to sign up. A new toggle titled “Try the new Teams” will be located in the upper-left corner. If you need to, you can switch back to the traditional Teams app.

    The preview release has some limitations. The preview won’t allow businesses to access third-party apps and line of business apps. This is a major missing feature of the new Teams experience. Advanced meeting features such as breakout rooms and call queues are not available, as well.

    To access the new Teams client, you will also need to run Windows. Microsoft is currently working on an enhanced Mac version. However, it will not be available in preview right away. Microsoft states that the new Teams preview is currently only available for commercial users. It will be made available later in the year to Education, Government Clouds and other platforms such as VDI and web.

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