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EU negotiators wrapped up talks on a major data protection reform last night (15 December) that will tighten privacy laws and determine how companies handle consumers' personal data.

The data protection regulation was hit with thousands of amendments and branded one of the top lobbied draft bills during its four-year stint in the legislative pipeline.

Following the October European Court of Justice decision that knocked down the Safe Harbour data transfer agreement between the EU and US, Europe's tough privacy rules have been under the spotlight.

Technology companies and privacy lawyers are saying the new regulation will make Europe's data protection rules a lot stricter. Current EU privacy legislation stems from the 1995 data protection directive.

Source: Euractiv

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Unannounced desktop only feature gives people the ability to find the highest rated businesses in a given area.

Search Engine Land has learned about a new “Facebook Professional Services” area on Facebook, where the company appears to be taking direct aim at local search companies like Yelp and Google by offering listings of local businesses and services, complete with user reviews.

Source: Search Engine Land

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A number of Facebook users recently reported seeing a new feature called “Local Market” appearing briefly in their Facebook iPhone app, sometimes in place of the “Messenger” button at the bottom center of the screen. The feature, which is only in testing but not broadly distributed, is a more structured marketplace aimed at buyers and sellers, allowing Facebook users to browse through or post items to sell across a variety of product categories like autos, appliances, furniture, clothing, household, kids, books, and much more.

For those who dug in further, they found this new section included both a “Buy” and “Sell” interface, as well as a way to search across the marketplace for particular items using keywords. Items available for sale are categorized, and include photos and prices.

Users could customize their own Local Market by selecting “collections” they wanted to follow such as “Everything Free,” “Men’s clothes,” “Top Cars,” “Dress for Less,” and others.

Source: TechCrunch

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Not too long ago, Mark Zuckerberg hinted that Facebook could eventually replace Web search, at least to some degree. A step in that direction came when Facebook announced a couple of weeks ago that it is vastly expanding its search capabilities by providing search results from all two trillion public posts within its social media platform.

Although Facebook previously had a large search volume of 1.5 billion searches a day, those searches did not include results from posts outside of friends’ posts or Pages liked, even if a post was otherwise publicly visible.

The biggest impact seems to be in real-time news, where hot topics and trending stories that normally come up in a News Feed can be searched. Results will display stories from publishers and media outlets, public posts and any links to stories in those posts, as well as conversations from your friends about the story.

So, what about local search? Right now, the search component does not search the web. While Facebook did previously partner with Bing to bring web results to searches, that is no longer part of the current search function on the Facebook app.

Source: Search Engine Land

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If you were in any doubt about this being the year that ‘hyperlocal’ became mainstream, surely Pinterest’s recent announcement that it is drawing in local business information from Foursquare, to enhance the location information contained within its Place Pins, is the final piece of evidence.

After all, over the past months we’ve seen the tech giants of this world, namely Google, Facebook and now Pinterest, significantly dialling up their local business space, to the point where 118 has now announced that they are stopping printing their physical Directory.

Source: The Drum

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