Cycling

Microsoft Teams acquires Facebook groups with community centers

Microsoft Teams is now useful for hosting more than just your company meetings. Microsoft has introduced a communities feature in Android and iOS that offers an effective alternative to Facebook groups for more personal uses—think your softball team, a carpooling group, or your local parent-teacher association. You can chat and make video calls, of course, but you can also organize events, post messages and share documents.

Similar to Facebook, owners can moderate communities by setting rules and removing people or content. You can create both virtual and real world events. If someone wants to join, you can invite them via email, phone numbers, or scannable QR codes.

Communities in Teams are only available on mobile for now, but Microsoft says they’re coming to desktop “soon” and you only need the free app. In 2023, Microsoft will offer access to SignUpGenius to help you coordinate fundraising events and other good causes by helping you recruit volunteers and plan events.

The community hub expansion may seem strange, but it reflects a gradual shift away from Teams’ original role as a pure workplace collaboration tool and more of a general-purpose chat and socializing app. It became free for personal use last year and recently received casual games to help break the ice with colleagues. This new addition ventures even further: Microsoft isn’t really building a social network, but it hopes to take on some of those features.

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