Microsoft Groups is now generally available (GA). There’s rather a lot to love in Microsoft’s Slack competitor, together with deeper channel administration and entry to the total suite of Microsoft Workplace 365 apps throughout the online collaboration expertise. You possibly can learn the total evaluation of Microsoft Teams for all the particulars. However, on the cell capabilities of Microsoft Groups, we wished to dig a bit deeper right here.
The cell experiences of apps corresponding to Asana, Atlassian HipChat, and Slack are a giant a part of their worth to the trendy, related employee. PCMag received an early alternative to check out Microsoft Groups. I downloaded the Microsoft Groups app for iOS to see how the expertise translated to cell and what options can be found from the get-go on Android, iOS, and Home windows Telephone.
The cell person interface (UI) for Microsoft Groups is easy. The app takes the minimalist left-hand navigation menu of the desktop app and pares it down even additional. If you obtain the Microsoft Groups app and signal into your staff, the very first thing you see is the principle Exercise feed with latest mentions, conversations, bulletins, and staff actions. They’re all ordered chronologically. You possibly can filter the feed by utilizing the Search icon on the highest left-hand aspect, or select filter choices on the highest right-hand aspect to type by unread messages, mentions, replies, customers you are following, or publish likes.
This GA model of the Microsoft Groups app would not attempt to throw an excessive amount of performance at you in its clear purple and white UI. The underside menu bar solely has 4 icons: Exercise, Chat, Groups, and Extra (fundamental profile data, saved posts, and settings). You possibly can’t arrange conferences or configure deeper settings past the mobile-specific stuff: notifications, search historical past, and storage.
The app is designed for staff chat and fundamental collaboration on the go. The Chat tab feels similar to that of Slack’s mobile app, or the chat tabs within the Fb Messenger and LinkedIn apps. There is a “Begin a brand new chat” icon on the highest right-hand aspect, above an inventory of your most up-to-date chats with thumbnails. Within the Groups tab, you get a extra detailed breakdown of your group. My demo account had three groups (Editorial, Gross sales, and Human Sources) with a number of channels for every, which you’ll customise or star to listing as a favourite staff or channel.
The Microsoft Groups cell app is mild on launch options by design. Microsoft aimed to maintain it easy: chat, calling, search, alerts, channel exercise, and file viewing is about all you may at the moment do throughout the Microsoft Groups app itself (although you may open recordsdata from Microsoft Groups into the related Microsoft Office 365 cell apps: Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, Phrase, and so on.
Essentially the most outstanding options of the Microsoft Groups cell app are chat and calling. Chat contains fundamental formatting choices and photograph add, and a few wealthy textual content enhancing options when you faucet the “A” icon in a chat window. These options embody daring/italics/underline, textual content highlighting, and font colours. I used to be in a position to pull in device-level emoji and GIF integrations from my iPhone, however one shortcoming is that the customized Microsoft Groups sticker units are usually not at the moment obtainable on cell. You too can click on the “Bookmark” icon on any message to reserve it, and entry your entire saved messages within the Saved listing once you click on the “Extra” icon.
The calling performance from throughout the chat tab labored nicely. After I tapped the “Telephone” icon on the high right-hand aspect of my chat with PCMag senior editor Juan Martinez, Microsoft Groups instantly began a name from throughout the app; the decision high quality got here via clearly. For the time being, iOS solely contains voice calling however Microsoft famous that Microsoft Groups contains native Apple CallKit integration on iOS. This makes incoming calls seem like some other name, together with ringing on the lock display screen. Video calling is obtainable for the Android app as nicely. You too can chat with T-Bot (the Microsoft Groups’s Slackbot-like assistant chat bot) to reply any fundamental questions on how the app works.
In the principle feed, probably the most highly effective function is Search. If you enter a question, you may filter by message or by folks to rapidly discover the chat or info for which you are trying. There isn’t any file search from the principle feed, although. For that, you will have to enter a selected channel and tab from Conversations over to Recordsdata to see all the related paperwork, spreadsheets, slideshows, and so on., related to that exact channel. Microsoft Groups is organized that approach on function in order that recordsdata are at all times related to particular tasks and groups. I used to be in a position to open and examine recordsdata throughout the Microsoft Groups app, however once more, for cell enhancing, you will must open the related Microsoft Workplace 365 app.
Lastly, within the Settings part of the app, there are a number of fundamental choices. You possibly can set your person standing as obtainable, busy, don’t disturb, or away. You too can toggle push notifications on and off for chats, mentions, replies, adopted channel posts, likes, and staff replace alerts.
Microsoft Groups is an especially wealthy desktop expertise, letting you collaborate on recordsdata and tasks, conduct conferences, chat with coworkers, and plug into an array of third-party providers and chat bot experiences—with out ever leaving the app. The cell app shouldn’t be practically as superior when it comes to obtainable options at launch, however Microsoft saved it easy on function. The app is straightforward to navigate and works nicely as an on-the-go extension of the chat, native calling, and fundamental collaboration options in Microsoft Groups.
The Microsoft Groups app works much more successfully for cell file enhancing when you’ve got the opposite Microsoft Workplace 365 apps put in. We might prefer to see video calling on iOS and the provision of the customized Microsoft Groups sticker units in cell chat, although. But, because it stands, the present Microsoft Groups cell app is an efficient begin.