Teams Adds Video Messages to Chats

Send a Teams Video Chat One-Minute Clip to Make Your Point

Announced in Microsoft 365 message center notification MC427757 (8 September, 2022) and now available in the preview version of Teams clients, users can send short (up to one minute) video clips in messages posted to one-to-one, group, and meeting chats. Microsoft expects this feature to be generally available in late September with deployment complete worldwide in October. Schedules have been known to slip!

Video messages are only available when chats involve participants from the same tenant (member and guest accounts). They’re not available in federated chats with external users in other Teams tenants or chats with Teams consumer users, nor are video messages supported in Teams channel conversations.

I was able to record, send, and playback video messages using the Teams desktop and browser clients. MC427757 and Microsoft 365 roadmap item 97158 refer to support for the mobile clients, but options to record and send are missing and playback doesn’t work in current builds.

Adding video messages to Teams chat isn’t surprising. Teams mobile clients have had the ability to record and send audio messages, so moving on to video is a natural next step. It’s also aligned with the general approach Microsoft is taking to add video as a full-fledged communications type across Microsoft 365. This is a central theme of the evolution of Stream for SharePoint, where the video player part of the Stream 2.0 client is the default app for video replay across all Microsoft 365 apps.

Sending a Teams Video Chat Message

When Teams video messages are available in a tenant (as we’ll see below, you can control their availability by policy), a video message icon appears in Teams chat (Figure 1) alongside the send message icon used for normal text messages.

The icon to create a Teams video chat message
Figure 1: The icon to create a Teams video chat message

Selecting the video option launches a screen similar to that used by Stream for SharePoint  to record videos using the PC camera or screen output. Teams offers simpler options. The length of videos is kept to 1 minute rather than 15 and there’s no effects available like background blur or custom images. The record button is the sole screen element. Clicking it starts recording immediately (Figure 2). This is another difference from Stream, which uses a 3-second countdown before it starts recording.

Recording a Teams video chat message
Figure 2: Recording a Teams video chat message

Like Stream, after you finish recording, you can review the video to make sure that it captures your true brilliance. You don’t get the chance to edit the video or make any other changes. If the recording isn’t right, you must record it again. When everything’s ready, click send and the message goes. Scheduled or delayed send is not supported for video messages.

Recipients see the video messages in their chat thread (Figure 3). As you can see, playing video messages is simple because there’s just one button to press.

A Teams video chat message appears in a chat thread
Figure 3: A Teams video chat message appears in a chat thread

Administrative Control

By default, Microsoft enables video messages in chat. If administrators don’t want people to use video messages, they can disable the feature using Teams messaging policies. For now, you must update the setting with PowerShell after downloading the latest version of the Teams PowerShell module (4.7 or later). These commands list the Teams messaging policies in the tenant and disable video messages for users assigned the default (global) policy:

Get-CsTeamsMessagingPolicy | Format-Table Identity, AllowVideoMessages

Identity                                    AllowVideoMessages
--------                                    ------------------
Global                                                    True
Tag:Advanced                                              True
Tag:Advanced Users                                        True
Tag:Restricted - No Chat                                  True

Set-CsTeamsMessagingPolicy -Identity Global -AllowVideoMessages:$False

Simple – Maybe Too Simple

Microsoft has done a very nice job of making it easy to send video messages in Teams chat. There’s really nothing that will trip people up, unless they decide to send a video message that’s not quite right.

My concerns are in the area of compliance. The Microsoft 365 substrate captures compliance records for video messages to make them available for eDiscovery. The compliance records point to the MP4 files which hold the messages (Figure 4).

Compliance record for a Teams video chat message
Figure 4: Compliance record for a Teams video chat message

However, because Teams captures minimal metadata in the compliance records (for instance, video messages don’t have a title or other keywords), they’re difficult for searches to find. Broad eDiscovery searches such as finding all chats sent by a user over a specific period do include video messages in search results and exports, which means that investigators do have access to this content. However, investigators must examine the individual MP4 files for video messages in search exports to determine if the content is of interest to whatever they’re looking for, so the discovery process is very manual.

The concern is that people who want to hide what they’re doing from the gaze of corporate compliance can do so by sending each other video messages. The same problem occurs for audio messages. Microsoft could do a better job of making the video and audio content accessible for eDiscovery purposes.

Nice for Users

I’m sure users will welcome video messages. They’ll love the ability to record a quick video clip and send it to one-to-one and group chats. Microsoft has made the process very simple and that’s laudable. It would be even nicer if eDiscovery could find video message more easily.

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10 Replies to “Teams Adds Video Messages to Chats”

  1. Is it possible to find the underlying MP4 for a non-administrator? A team member sent me this type of video, but I need the underlying file to edit.

  2. I cannot play a video sent to me in Teams chat in the Teams mobile app. I’ve cleared cache, restarted, redownloaded, etc. I can play my own recorded chat video in the mobile app, but I cannot play videos sent me to me. They all play just fine via desktop.

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