Chat Bubbles is a new feature to display chat messages in Teams meetings that just hit Public Preview (yes, you need to have Public Preview enabled in Teams Desktop client to be able to use these preview features). And no, you don’t see them in browser-Teams nor in mobile-Teams at this phase. Just the Desktop application on Windows & Mac.
What are Chat Bubbles
They are a new way to display chat in the meeting: popping up as “bubbles” to the meeting without having a need to have the chat window open. In fact if you have the chat window open then Chat Bubbles are not displayed at all.
These are very useful if you have smaller screen or the screen area is full. It also enables the presenter to keep on eye on the chat during the presentation before since chats pop directly onto screen. Chat messages are shown briefly on the screen before they disappear.
I think that for the presenter (or anyone at the meeting who doesn’t want to have the chat open) this is a useful – but double edged – feature. If there are issues or questions you can briefly see them and thus can react quickly without having to pay attention to the meeting chat pane. Issues like “you are on mute”, “you are not sharing”, “you have poor audio” can be noticed much more quickly – and also if you ask something from the audience you can see replies flooding the screen. And you might catch questions audience asks as well via this. The other edge is that, depending on the presenter and the event, that chats can catch attention and draw you away from speaking. They can be really distracting in that way. You can turn them off if you want.
Chat bubbles are useful for everyone: occasional chats do stand out nicely in bubbles – thus reducing the need to keep chat open. Moderators can stay up to date perhaps better (although they will have the chat open).
Chat bubbles are on by default. If you have the chat window open the Chat Bubbles are not shown.
The drawback: if the chat is active then it defeats the benefits. This really depends on the activity: if there are lots of messages coming to the chat all the time it will not be fun to get flooded.
How do I get my chat message to be shown in a bubble?
There is nothing you, as a person sending the message, do differently. You just write your messages to the chat normally. The option if chats are shown in bubbles depends on everyone’s choice.
How can I control Chat Bubbles (= can I turn them off?)
Yes, everyone can control Chat Bubbles. They are on by default, but you can turn them off if you want. You do this during the meeting using ellipses/… menu and choose Don’t show chat bubbles.
Then your chat messages will only appear to the chat, as before this feature. You can then of course re-enable bubbles anytime with Show chat bubbles.
There isn’t any meeting option that can set this differently on default. And I didn’t see any option for setting this in notifications. So it is on by default. If you have a tendency of keeping chat window open in meetings you don’t even notice Chat Bubbles, since they are not displayed when chat is open. So the quick way to “mute” bubbles is to keep the chat displayed in the meeting.