Surprising Play from Microsoft
Microsoft has published an add-on to allow Google Calendar users to create and use Microsoft Teams meetings in the Google Workspace Marketplace. From the age of the comments, it seems like the add-on has been available since late November. However, Microsoft isn’t saying too much about the topic and the only trace of documentation I can find on their site covers configuring the add-on for use with Google Workspace. Separate versions of the add-on are available for Google Workspace and Google Calendar (consumer). Not having access to Google Workspace, I took the consumer variant for a test ride.
After installing the code from the marketplace, the add-on allows users to schedule Teams meetings from their Google calendar. In concept, the add-on for Google Calendar works much like the Teams meeting add-in for Outlook desktop, OWA, and Outlook mobile do.
As part of the installation process, you must authenticate to your home Teams tenant using your Microsoft 365 account. If you don’t connect the add-on to a valid Microsoft 365 account licensed to use Teams, you can’t expect to create Teams meetings.
Creating a Teams Meeting with Google Calendar
Creating a Teams meeting with Google calendar is easy. Create the meeting as usual and then choose to have Teams create the necessary online workspace to host a meeting. This is done by selecting Teams as the host for an associated video conference as shown in Figure 1. Choose Microsoft Teams meeting from the drop-down list of available video conferencing providers or click the Add Microsoft Teams Meeting button. Both do the same and add a URL pointing to a Teams meeting to the calendar event.
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The URL for the Teams meeting looks something like this. The pointer to the online workspace which will host the Teams meeting is obvious:
Add the invitee list and complete the rest of the meeting information (Figure 2). You can invite other Gmail and Google Workspace users, people with accounts on other email systems, and Office 365 users.
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When you save the event, you are asked if you want to send invitations. Do so and Calendar sends email invitations out to the invitee list. The invitations include joining instructions in the form of some text and the URL to attend the online meeting (Figure 3).
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Responses to meeting invitations flow without a problem between Google Calendar and Exchange.
No MAPI Properties
Outlook users can accept the meeting and add it to their calendars. However, Outlook treats these events as standard meetings because the MAPI properties which mark online Teams (and Skype for Business) meetings are not present. Missing out a Join Online button in an Outlook reminder that a meeting is about to start is a minor inconvenience.
Teams Meetings from Gmail
A nice touch is that Teams meetings scheduled through the add-on are accessible through the Calendar view in Gmail (Figure 4). To join a meeting from Gmail, open the event and click the Join Microsoft Teams Meeting link.
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Likewise, when working inside Calendar, the add-on lists Teams meeting for the selected day (Figure 5).
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The Gmail account owning the calendar is listed as the Teams meeting organizer. Events created by the add-on are not automatically added to the calendar of the linked Microsoft 365 account. If you want that account to attend meetings organized through Google Calendar, you must add the account as an attendee. This creates an interesting problem. Everything works fine if a meeting is started by the Gmail account from either Gmail or Calendar. If it isn’t and the Teams meeting policy assigned to the linked Microsoft 365 account doesn’t allow anyone but the organizer to bypass the lobby, not even the linked Microsoft 365 account can join.
Delivering a Teams meeting add-in for Google Calendar is an interesting initiative on Microsoft’s part. On the one hand, Microsoft would very much prefer users to have an Exchange Online mailbox as they have always said that this combination delivers the best and most seamless functionality. That’s certainly true, but now Microsoft is opening Teams meetings up to Google email users as a direct replacement for Google Meet. It seems like the ambition of Teams to spread everywhere has no boundaries.
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