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FBI to monitor online conversations – Google Translate available offline – Same day delivery service from Google

FBI to monitor online conversations in real time

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will soon have the power to monitor online conversations in real time as they happen.

Andrew Weissman, general counsel at the FBI, commented: "The problem is where we are today. The way we communicate is really not limited to telephone nowadays and the old fashioned picking up the phone and calling someone". Weissman says that the agency hopes to be able to monitor seemingly secretive communications as and when they happen, which they hope will severely reduce the amount of cyber crime, as well as online plotting of terrorism.

Weissman said that other countries have legislation which allows law enforcement to intercept real time conversations. With these options, tracking illegal online activity is as easy as overhearing a phone call. While as of yet there is no confirmation that this will become a reality in the next year, the FBI counsel confirmed that a court order to allow them to track conversations in real time was "a huge priority".

Reaction to the news online was mixed, with many users expressing fears that the powers could be used for purposes other than spying on potential threats to national safety.

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Google Translate now also available offline

Google Translate is now available offline, offering users access to translations of 51 different languages without the need to connect to the internet.

The translation service from Google is constantly looking to adapt, with Chrome using Google Translate to automatically transcribe many pages for internet users without prompting. While Google Chrome does not yet support automatic translation for every language included in the service, the range of dialects able to be transcribed is growing rapidly and helping an increasing number of internet users.

The text-to-speech ability of Google Translate is one way in which users have been helped by the company, allowing for better pronunciation and speaking of the translated text. A further innovation for the service is through the Android app, which allows users to photograph text in either Chinese, Japanese or Korean and receive a translation straight to their smartphone device.

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Google trials same day shopping delivery

Google have began trials of Google Shopping Express, which allows online shoppers to receive items on the same day as purchase.

The service is so far available for a total of nine stores, including such big names as Staples, Toys R' Us, Office Depot and American Eagle Outfitters. The overall cost of this convenience has been reported to be around $63 (£41) annually, with no additional charges for delivery. However, this is yet to be officially confirmed by the company themselves. A Google representative said that they wanted to price the service so that it was "an everyday possibility" for consumers, ensuring it was worthwhile using it instead of merely driving to the relevant store.

Trials are currently undergoing in the San Francisco area, with those living in the Bay Area currently able to apply to become a beta tester. Those accepted on to the tests will receive the service free of charge for six months, with unlimited deliveries available. In return, these users will provide daily feedback to Google on what items are currently in stock, and how efficiently the service works.

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