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Microsoft announced on December 8 that it plans to change how Teams users test upcoming features for the service. The software giant is changing the testing channel names and adding a new Public Preview channel to the Teams testing program.

Teams users will have three choices as part of the reworked Insider program. The options are:

  • Beta
  • Private Preview
  • Public Preview

Like the Windows and Office Insider program, the Teams testing channels are designed like this to be given to different groups. Each group will access new features for various reasons and at different stages in their development.

What the changes mean

Beta is for the early adopters and pros who want to test features, Private Preview is for those who want stability to validate features, and Public Preview is for those who wish to evaluate and create new features before they are deployed to everyone else.

Beta Channel used to be called “Ring 1.5” and is available to TAP (Team Technology Adoption Program) customers and only under Non-Disclosure Agreements.

Private Preview was previously Ring 3 and was available to TAP customers under an NDA as well. Public Preview is the new channel where no requirements are instituted, anyone can opt-in, and IT admins control it.

The upward way

Microsoft execs say that the main difference between Teams and the rest of Microsoft 365 is that Teams delivers feature rollout against build rollouts. This means that a new feature can be enabled without a new build update, and different channels can have the same build version at any point in time.

In October, Microsoft said that there were 115 million Teams daily active users. The number reported exceeded more than 200 million monthly active SharePoint Online users during Tuesday’s announcement, double what it was last year, primarily driven by how Teams works and stores information. 

Tip: Zoom vs Google Meet vs Microsoft Teams vs Webex Meetings vs BlueJeans