Microsoft is greatly improving its free version of Microsoft Teams on Windows 11 today. The built-in Teams app will now include support for Microsoft’s communities feature inside Teams, the company’s answer to Facebook and Discord. It’s also getting support for Microsoft Designer, the AI art tool that lets you generate images for things like event invitations or social media posts using text prompts.
Microsoft Teams communities originally launched in December for family and friends — or small community groups and businesses — to organize through meetings, calendars, and chat. It’s Microsoft’s answer to what you might find on Facebook or how people use Discord, WhatsApp, Reddit, and many other services for organizing groups.
The communities feature of Microsoft Teams has been limited to mobile so far, but today’s expansion allows Windows 11 users to create and manage communities inside Teams. “On Windows 11, community owners can create communities from scratch, share and invite members, create and host events, moderate content with critical trust and safety features, and get notified about all important activities,” explains Amit Fulay, vice president of Microsoft Teams product, in a blog post. Microsoft is planning to expand its support for communities to Windows 10, macOS, and even the web soon.
A preview version of Microsoft Designer will also be available in the built-in version of Microsoft Teams on Windows 11. Designer could be useful for communities to create event invite imagery or even for community banners inside Teams. It’s the same service that’s being integrated into Microsoft Edge, a combination of some DALL-E and Adobe Express-like features for basic AI-powered image generation.
Alongside the Windows 11 expansion, communities in Teams is also getting some mobile and general usability improvements. You can now record videos from a mobile device with markup tools and filters, and in the coming days, you’ll be able to find featured communities to join across iOS, Android, and Windows 11. Microsoft is also adding polls to communities in Teams and improving the moderation aspects of who can join a community for owners.
Microsoft is also updating GroupMe, the mobile group messaging service that Microsoft acquired when it purchased Skype in 2011. GroupMe, which Fulay says is still used by “millions of people every day” is getting support for Microsoft Teams calling. This means you can now create Teams calls inside GroupMe chats and join group video calls.