While Windows 11 has been in testing with Insiders for weeks now, there have been some features missing. One of those features is Microsoft Teams chat, which is in the Windows 11 preview beginning today. You’ll be able to send and receive messages from any of your devices, and the person that you’re talking to doesn’t even need to be a Teams user. You can send a message via SMS or email as well.
You’re going to see a Chat icon in the taskbar, yet another new icon that Microsoft is adding to your taskbar along with Widgets. If you click it, you’ll see all of your various conversations. There’s also going to be an “Open Microsoft Teams” button on there that can open up the full experience. You’ll especially need it now, since not all Teams functionality is available in the preview today.
Microsoft says that you’re automatically going to have your Skype and Outlook contacts synced; however, it doesn’t say that it’s going to bring over your Skype conversations. Remember, Skype doesn’t ship with Windows 11 anymore, so the Teams integration is a replacement for that.
You don’t need a link to start a conversation. As mentioned above, you can start a chat with someone with their phone number or their email address. However, you can add people to group chats using a link. The same thing works for video calls, but audio and video calls are something that’s going to be coming later on.
Microsoft boasted that you’ll be able to do all of this across devices. There’s no surprise there. While this is a Chat experience inside of Windows 11, it’s still Microsoft Teams. That means that if you sign into the Microsoft Teams app on iOS, Android, macOS, or Linux, you’ll still be able to access all of those conversations.
What we’re seeing here is sort of the next evolution of ‘Meet Now’ on Windows 10, except that was for Skype. It’s similar to how News and Interests evolved into Widgets with Windows 11. Just like with the Meet Now, all you have to do to get started is hit the Chat button. There are more features on the way, such as video and audio calling, presence and status settings, screen sharing, and more. All of that is going to arrive in the coming weeks. Offline mode doesn’t work yet either, so you’ll need an internet conection.