Microsoft Teams Updated, Gets an App Store to Counter Slack

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Microsoft Teams Updated, Gets an App Store to Counter Slack
Highlights
  • Microsoft Teams has received its own app store
  • The app store lists apps and services designed specifically for Teams
  • There is also slash command support

Making competition tougher for Slack, Microsoft Teams has been updated with a new version that brings a custom app store. The new version is touted to be the "biggest single release" since Teams was first launched in last March. It also includes the ability to let power users control apps directly from a dedicated command box and use slash commands. The company is also asking existing Teams users to submit their ideas and vote for the available ideas to make the platform better - and a bigger competitor against Slack.

The very first and the most major change that comes through the latest release is the app store that lists apps and services designed specifically for Microsoft Teams. Just as any other app store, Teams Store allows you to search for apps by name, category (such as Project management or Analytics and BI), or integration type (such as Bots, Tabs, or Connector). You can also pick the apps that you'd like to surface in your personal app view or in a specific channel in Teams.

Slack users have already been provided with a proprietary app directory that highlights all the tools that are compatible with the platform, including essential apps such as Google Drive, RSS, Trello, and Twitter among others. But what makes Microsoft Teams' app store approach a bit different is its enhanced focus on the apps that are added by your organisation or assigned directly to you in addition to the apps and services you can pick at your workspace.

Alongside bringing the app store, Microsoft has added app integrations within its Teams platform to let you add an emoji or GIF directly from apps right into your chat or channel message. There is also a new personal apps space that takes you apart from what your colleagues are using. The personal apps space provide you with access to apps you care about and view the items you have been assigned to across apps. It also lists items you have recently accessed, such as OneNote notebooks. Further, Microsoft has built its own Who personal app that uses the Microsoft Graph to let you search for people in your organisation by typing their name or selecting any particular topic.

The new revision for Microsoft Teams also includes the ability to let you pass your query or command from the command box. You can use the command box to search for information in an app and insert the same information into a chat or channel conversation. To display the list of apps supporting your queries and commands, you just need to type "@" character on the box. Going forward, Microsoft is additionally in plans to uplift the present command functionality by letting you create a task in your project management app or start a build in Visual Studio Team Services.

Furthermore, Microsoft has added slash command support to Teams to help you perform certain tasks using the command box. For instance, you can set your status to "away" by typing "/ away" in the box. All the supported slash commands can be viewed by typing "/" on the command box.

All the new features are rolling out for all Microsoft Teams users starting today. You should see them in your Teams client shortly.

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Jagmeet Singh Tech journalist by profession, tech explorer by passion. Budding philomath. More
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