Sick of Microsoft Teams virtual backgrounds? You can now use Snapchat Lenses instead

Microsoft reckons adding more virtual effects will help teams build better bridges and work harder.

Despite recent announcements of improvements to Teams filters and backgrounds, the interactive elements if the video conferencing software have been somewhat underwhelming compared to social media platforms.

In its latest Teams update, however, Microsoft is leaning on the success of Snap by integrating more than 20 Snapchat Lenses straight into the Teams experience with no additional software required.

Its hope is that people will be able to express themselves better and build relationships more easily, though quite which business meetings are made better by a virtual sloth around your neck, we’re not sure.

Snapchat Lenses in Teams

While Lenses make some sense in informal settings, the integration, at least for now, forms part of the Teams for Work application.

In the product announcement (opens in new tab), Microsoft explains the augmented reality behind the Lenses which use the existing cameras, sensors, and displays already employed by the Teams app, all made possible with Snap’s Camera Kit technology.

Users can choose to apply a Lens before joining a meeting, or during, choosing from a range of backgrounds, overlaid images, and full video effects.

Admins can enable or disable the function, though it’s worth noting that despite Microsoft’s push to modernize its software, the Snapchat Lenses are only available on “classic” Teams with the updated version set to get the feature by the end of 2023. Teams for Work rollout has already started, and will continue throughout the month of April.

For Snap, the move will likely present significant cost reduction compared to its own Snap Camera desktop app, which served a similar purpose and could be used on video conferencing platforms like Zoom.

The company announced its deprecation in January, and the precise reason for that has now become a little clearer as it begins to offer Teams integration without the need for a dedicated desktop app that will have likely been costlier to run.

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