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Friday’s Top Tech News: Job Cuts Come For Google

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Some BMW EVs Aren’t Making Their Pedestrian Warning Sounds

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Photo of the BMW i4’s grille.
As Jalopnik jokes, the cars are being recalled because they’re too quiet. | Image: Roberto Baldwin for The Verge

BMW is recalling almost 3,500 EVs due to issues with the artificial sound generator that’s meant to warn people when the vehicles are backing up or traveling at low speeds. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website, the recall applies to some 2022 and 2023 BMW i4 and iX models.

Federal safety standards require EVs or hybrids to make a certain amount of noise so that pedestrians can tell that there’s a car coming. Since electric motors are generally pretty quiet, especially at low speeds (the tires will likely be pretty loud on their own when you’re going faster), auto manufacturers usually have their cars make artificial sounds. That often ends up being a futuristic hum or whir; for performance…

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Meta Is Testing Members-Only Worlds For Its Social VR Platform

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Some Horizon Worlds avatars hanging out around a virtual campfire.
Some Horizon Worlds avatars hanging out around a virtual campfire. | Image: Meta

Meta is starting to test members-only worlds in Horizon Worlds, its social VR platform, which will allow people to build curated worlds for a select community of users.

These members-only worlds will offer something of a middle ground for creators on the platform. You can currently make public worlds for lots of people to go to, and the company is also testing what it calls personal spaces, which function like a private home in VR where you have tight control over who visits. Members-only worlds, on the other hand, are limited to 150 members and 25 concurrent visitors.

Meta suggests the new members-only spaces could be useful for groups like book clubs, gaming groups, a place for VIP creator supporters, or a spot to hang out with…

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The HomePod Mini Can Now Tell You When It’s Getting Hot In Here

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Apple’s HomePod Mini can now monitor temperature and humidity.

While the sort of new HomePod grabbed all the attention this week, the HomePod Mini is also getting some new features. With the launch of iOS 16.3 (likely later this month), the Mini will get all the same smart home capabilities as the new, bigger HomePod second-gen. The differences between the two Apple speaker siblings are now mainly in size and sound capability. From new temperature and humidity sensing tricks to the ability to find your family for you and even set up automations with just your voice, these new features should make the HomePod Mini a little more useful around the house.

Both HomePods are also getting a Sound Recognition feature later this…

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