Google to add background blur, captioning, and low-light mode to Meet video calls

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Google Meet is working on several new features that will match its competitors, including allowing users to add images or a blur effect to backgrounds on video calls, 9to5 Google reported. As they can on rival videoconferencing platforms Zoom and Microsoft Teams, users will be able to either choose their own image or pick from several default options.
Google confirmed to The Verge that in addition to background blur and background replacement images, real-time captioning, low-light mode, hand-raising, and a tile view of up to 49 meeting participants will be rolled out to the consumer version of Meet. The company didn’t provide details about when the changes would be available, but 9to5 Google reported Meet was already previewing some of…
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California makes zero-emission trucks and vans mandatory by 2045

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) has passed a new rule that says all commercial trucks and vans sold in the state in 2045 must be zero-emission, in a bid to move the industry away from the dirty and harmful diesel engines that currently power most of these vehicles.
It’s the first rule of its kind in the United States, and it follows California’s 2018 decision to mandate that transit agencies purchase all-electric buses starting in 2029, as well as its long-standing Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program for passenger cars and trucks.
There will be progressive milestones along the way, too Other milestones will need to be hit in the years leading up to that date, too. California regulators are mandating that half of all trucks sold…
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Unilever will pull ads from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the rest of the year

Photo Illustration by Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images Consumer goods giant Unilever said Friday that it would halt all ad spending on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter through the end of the year, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Unilever owns dozens of popular household brands like Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Dove soap, and typically spends more than $1 billion each year promoting them through various ad channels.
As of press time, Facebook’s stock had fallen more than 7 percent in the wake of the news.
“We invest billions of dollars each year to keep our community safe and continuously work with outside experts to review and update our policies,” a Facebook spokesperson told NBC News. “We know we have more work to do, and we’ll continue to work with civil rights groups, GARM,…
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Watch two new gameplay trailers for Cyberpunk 2077

CD Projekt Red has debuted two new gameplay trailers for the highly anticipated (and recently delayed again) Cyberpunk 2077. One trailer, “The Gig” shows off some of the game’s prologue, which sees player character V caught up in a heist for a bio-chip, which kicks off the rest of the game.
The trailer also shows off new aspects of the game, including the open-world “Badlands” region and Adam Smasher, a hulking cyborg character that fans of the pen-and-paper RPG might recognize.
A second trailer shows off a look at “braindance” gameplay, where players use the futuristic technology of Cyberpunk 2077 to enter another character’s memories, where you can freely look around to analyze past events and look for clues or information. In-game,…
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You can now make group calls in Google Meet or Duo from a smart display

A group Google Duo call on a Nest Hub Max smart display | Photo: Google Google is expanding the ways you can make video calls on smart displays powered by Google Assistant with new support for group calling in Google Meet and Duo. The new video group calling abilities will be available on the Nest Hub Max and other Assistant smart displays with cameras starting today.
Just like you can do with one-on-one calls, it’s possible to start a group call from a smart display with either your voice or by tapping the screen. Groups that are created in the Duo mobile app will be accessible on the smart display and can support up to 32 people at a time. The smart display will show up to eight participants, including yourself, at a time. If you’re using the Nest Hub Max, the auto-framing features will still work so you…
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Google to let you use a Fi number and a Voice number on the same account

Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge Google is rolling out the ability to have different Voice and Fi numbers on the same Google account. That could be handy if you want to use one service for a personal number and the other for a business number, for example.
The feature addresses a criticism of Fi that has existed since the initial wave of invites went out for the service in 2015. Previously, if you wanted to use your Google Voice number on Google Fi, you had to port your Voice number to Fi, which means you’d lose the ability to use it with Voice. When this new feature is rolled out to you, though, you’ll be able to forward calls from Google Voice to your Google Fi number.
The feature should be fully rolled out by June 25th, according to Google.
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Oculus discontinues its low-end Go headset to focus on Oculus Quest

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge Oculus is ending sales of its budget Oculus Go virtual reality headset and opening its Quest headset to a wider range of software. The company will maintain Oculus Go firmware through 2022 and accept new apps through December 2020, but it will stop selling Go hardware after the current stock runs out. Meanwhile, it will add a new Quest app distribution channel without the current strict approval process, encouraging more developers to work with the headset.
In a blog post, Facebook-owned Oculus says it’s retiring the Go after positive response to the Quest — which features the same all-in-one format but tracks full spatial (or 6DoF) motion, not just head orientation. “You’ve told us loud and clear that 6DoF feels like the future of VR….
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The Mac’s iconic startup chime is back in macOS Big Sur

Photo by Dieter Bohn / The Verge Apple is bringing back the Mac’s iconic startup chime in macOS Big Sur. The company hinted it might return by playing the chime very prominently during yesterday’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, and people who have installed the first Big Sur developer beta have reported that it’s back. You can see a Mac on Big Sur play the chime while booting up in the video at the top of this post.
The startup chime was first removed from Macs in 2016 with the redesigned MacBook Pros released that year, and Macs released since then (with the exception of the 2017 13-inch MacBook Air) didn’t play the chime when you turned them on.
However, earlier this year, it was discovered that Apple would let you enable the startup chime on those Macs if…
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