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Here’s a highlight of some of the top local-business-related news of the week:

[Technology News] Netgear and Facebook Partner to Provide Wi-Fi for Small Businesses

News Source: AllFacebook

Global networking company Netgear announced at this week’s CES in Las Vegas that it’s teaming up with Facebook to provide Wi-Fi to small businesses. The Facebook Wi-Fi service will be available free-of-charge to users of the social network who check in on those businesses’ Facebook Pages.

Small business owners who own select Netgear routers can turn them into Wi-Fi hotspots. When customers select the network, they’re prompted to check in to the business’s Facebook Page before they’re taken to their web browser. Customers will also be prompted to Like the business’s Page as part of the login process.

Key Takeaway: Netgear and Facebook’s offer can benefit small businesses in two ways: (1) by providing free WiFi for patrons without requiring a new investment in equipment by business owners, and (2) by encouraging check-ins and likes on a business’s Facebook Page. This functionality seems like a win for both customers and businesses who already own the Netgear routers in question.

[Social Media News] Pinterest Acquires Visual Search Startup

News Source: Entrepreneur

This week, Pinterest purchased VisualGraph, a startup working in the visual search and image recognition software space. The acquisition was motivated by a desire to better understand what users are Pinning and how they can better serve up related content.

Key Takeaways: Down the line, Pinterest may use this new search software to show more targeted Related Pins, improve search results, and develop other kinds of Pins that may be very useful to small businesses who are promoting their products and services on Pinterest. It'll be interesting to see what Pinterest does with VisualGraph's technology over the coming months.

[Technology News] CES Suppliers Show a Glimpse Into the Future of Professional Kitchens

News Source: Mashable

Also at this week’s CES, Whirlpool showcased a new interactive cooktop concept that incorporates hands-free devices and touchscreens. The computer component can be activated via touch or voice, and gives users the ability to perform web searches, social networking, and other online tasks. The concept is still in a prototype phase for now.

Whirlpool also debuted a smart refrigerator that streams music from any Bluetooth-enabled device. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but the product will be on the market soon.

Key Takeaway: Technology is becoming even more integrated with our daily lives, including in the household. It won’t be long before smart kitchen appliances and devices are commonly used in both professional kitchens and private homes. How small businesses will react to integrating technology in the kitchen on such a broad scale remains to be seen.

Other news catch your eye this week? Leave a comment and let us know! 

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