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Applies to: Commercial and education tenants

Today, we are announcing a change in how customers can preview upcoming Microsoft Teams features. This includes adopting pre-release channel names like Office and Windows Insider programs, as well as a new broadly available Public Preview channel. With this change, Insiders will find similar names and expectations for similar channels across Windows, Office, and Teams programs. As mentioned in the Windows Insider blog post, our goal is to not only make it clearer for existing Insiders to choose the experience that’s right for them, but also for new Insiders to pick the right channel as they join. The Insider community is important to us due to their early actionable feedback and we are working to align how all our Insider programs work better together across Microsoft.


Read on to learn more about the Public Preview channel and why we are launching it.


Teams Public Preview and channel names alignment
Teams continues to innovate at a fast pace while delivering an enterprise-grade experience to over 115M daily active users. We first launched pre-release access to Teams features via our Technology Adoption Program (TAP) over 4 years ago. This continues to be a private and under NDA program for all participating customers.


As Teams adoption continues to accelerate, it is important to bring in more diversity and easier options for customers to preview pre-release features for product quality, internal planning, adoption & training readiness. With this, we are launching Teams Public Preview channel to allow customers to preview and evaluate features before they roll out to the rest of their company. Please review this article for guidance on how to configure preview access for selected users in your tenant.


Teams Insiders can pick one of the three channels, based on the quality of client builds they are most comfortable with and participation commitments.


One key difference between Teams and rest of Microsoft 365 is that Teams delivers feature rollout against build rollouts. This means (1) a feature can be enabled without a new build update, and (2) different channels may have the same build version at any point in time.


About Teams pre-release channels
Here is an overview of the available channels:

Available Channels.png

 

Beta Channel
Ideal for early adopters and IT Pros who want to test features as they are being built. We look for bugs and regressions from this audience before releasing the features to the next channel. This was previously called Ring 1.5 and is available to participating Teams TAP customers and only under NDA and program requirements. This channel requires the most time commitment and is only available via self-customer nominations.


Private Preview Channel
Insiders in this channel will see more stable features for validation and piloting adoption. There will be faster updates and adoption help from Microsoft. Pre-release feature support is provided directly by Teams engineering. This channel was previously called Ring 3 and, like Beta channel, is available to participating Teams TAP customers only under NDA and program requirements.


Public Preview Channel
We are launching Public Preview with this announcement. This is for customers who want to evaluate a feature or developers who want to build a solution before broader deployment. There are no program requirements or commitments. This is an opt-in program, controlled via IT admin policy. Please read about how to configure this policy here. For Developer Preview please read here.


Aligning with Office and Windows
With today’s announcement, Teams pre-release channels are better aligned with Office and Windows Insider programs. An Insider can now make a choice as to which experience, they want and have it mean the same thing between Windows, Office, and Teams. Insiders will need to opt into each Insider Program separately, but we are looking to improve this experience over time.

Windows-Office-Teams.png

 

How to join Public Preview channel
Please read the instructions here Public preview in Microsoft Teams - Microsoft Teams | Microsoft Docs

Public Preview.png

 

December 2020 Preview pack

We are releasing below features in public preview channel. They will start rolling out later this week.

Windows 10 native notifications

Large gallery and Together mode for web
2x2 view on VDI (Citrix, VMWare)
Meeting reactions (Note: requires everyone in the meeting to be in Public Preview to experience the feature)

Call merge capability

Thank you for helping us grow and evolving with us. We hope you enjoy the new features and look forward to your participation in our new discussion board within the Tech Community.

 

26 Comments
Occasional Contributor

Can a user be assigned to both developer preview and public preview?

Contributor

Public preview is still not available as a choice on the client side despite the policy being enabled on admin (at least not for all tenants; I'm sure it's working for some). I guess it's slowly being rolled out. I enabled it on the admin side around a week ago.

@techienick one or the other but previews land in the same channel

@Brian .  the policy and features will rollout later this week

Note - This is for enterprises and EDU only. Not applicable to Teams for Personal Life

Contributor

It appeared tonight. However, after selecting it and then OK'g the opt-in, and after it restarts, the About menu has not only Public checked but Developer, too. At least on the Windows version. If you uncheck Developer, it restarts and both are unchecked, and you have to opt in to Public again. Not that I can tell the difference with the Public version yet to know if it's truly enabled, but I think this is a cosmetic bug.

Occasional Contributor

Answered my own question, yes you can be assigned both, picking either seems to give you the same result

techienick_1-1607505061984.png

 

 

Contributor

Great news, I just saw the option in the Client this morning. 
Where can we follow the roadmap for the features that will come and what have been released? 
Would be great with a website to keep track on this. "Someone" told me it will be published on this site?
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/officeupdates/current-channel-preview 

 

@Brian . @looks like you have custom sideloading enabled in your tenant that displays developer preview

Senior Member

I am seeing the same with both developer preview & public preview selected, how to we prevent developer preview

Contributor

Multiple people have reported the problem of both modes (there's also another thread), and I'm fairly sure that 100% of us don't know what custom sideloading is. :) Can you be more specific? If you mean there's also a policy somewhere to enable Dev, I'm unaware of it. I never knew that it needed one.

update - we are working on fixing this (both modes showing up after switching) - currently we don't have an ETA to share due to holiday freeze period

Senior Member

Is "Meeting reactions" yet to be available in public preview as listed above? For account enabled for public preview, still only have raise hand option instead.

 
Senior Member

meetingtop.png

Senior Member
What is the lead time between features released to GA (Ring 4) after available in Teams Public Preview within the same tenant?
Occasional Contributor

Can't we download the Preview msi and install that during login for select groups of people? 

Contributor

I doubt that's there's going to be a special binary.

Senior Member

Is there a reason a user has to enable the joining of the public preview themselves? Once they are added to the policy by IT, the user shouldn't have to do anything on their end in order to start using the preview.

 

This is as bad as users having to enable new features themselves instead of IT controlling it or it being automatic.

New Contributor

hey i do not have public preview option

Occasional Contributor

Is there any guidance for RAPing (bug reporting) for Public Preview participants?

What happens if someone is enrolled in TAP 1.5 or TAP 3.0? Do the get elevated to Public Preview?

 

Thanks.

 

Mark

Occasional Contributor

@lewisryan343

You have to enable the policy option in the Teams Admin portal and assign it to specific users. I would have preferred Microsoft gave us a registry key or msi that we could manage groups of users more easily. 

1) https://admin.teams.microsoft.com/policies/updatemanagement
2) Turn on "Show preview features" policy
3) Check the "Show preview features" policy" and click Manage Users to assign to specific individuals. 

New Contributor

@DannyBoyPipes I suspect the reason for this is that being a preview program, the end-user has quick "out" if a new feature causes problems for them, and then a quick "back in" when it is resolved. 

Previews are always... "interesting", and while things usually go well, it's still testing software features that could have a frustrating bug, and if a user needs to join an important meeting and can't turn off the preview program because helpdesk is swamped, I suspect frustrated users.

 

 

Senior Member

@Tom Rune Berg That makes perfect sense and I didn't think it that way. Thanks for the reply.

Visitor

Hello, is there a new UI coming out for MS Teams? I'm seeing a Teams version with more white on the sidebar (versus the traditional purple). When can we expect this to be public?

Contributor

 is there a RSS feed we can subscribe to that will notify us of new feature being deployed to Public Preview rather than remembering to visit the web page?

@Nikki1 we plan on announcing the new features monthly similar to "what's new in Teams" monthly blog post.