Microsoft’s Visual Studio Live Share gets built-in voice and text chat

Visual Studio Live Share is Microsoft’s tool for real-time collaborative code editing in the Visual Studio IDE and the Visual Studio Code editor. Earlier this year, the company also launched a preview of a browser-based version of the tool. While a shared real-time code editor is great, users always had to rely on additional tools to actually discuss what they were doing. That’s changing, however, because at Build 2020, Microsoft today announced that it is adding voice and text chat to this service.

Given the current state of things, any tool that makes it easier to collaborate online is probably a welcome addition to developers’ toolboxes. Unlike screen shares or other hacks for working together, one nice aspect of Live Share is that individual developers can keep their own, often somewhat idiosyncratic, settings they are used to. Like in most modern collaborative document editors, everybody gets to keep their own cursor, too.

As of now, it doesn’t look like the text and voice chat are integrated with any of Microsoft’s other communications tools like Teams, so at least for the time being, what happens in Live Share stays in Live Share.

The new features are now in public preview.