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Yahoo adds social features to Yahoo Buzz

Updates expand on Yahoo Open Strategy with new comments section, activity hub

By Heather Havenstein
November 7, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Yahoo Inc. this week added new social elements to the beta version of its Yahoo Buzz social news site, which identifies the top news stories and blog posts based on user votes and search patterns.

On Thursday, Yahoo announced that it has added the ability to include elements from a Yahoo user's universal profile on the site by highlighting information from his friend connections. The update expands on the Yahoo Open Strategy that is aimed at opening all Yahoo platforms and data to third parties, and expanding the availability of social features.

A new updates section on Buzz will allow users to more easily find content their friends have voted for on the Buzz site, Yahoo said. In addition, Yahoo added a comments area that lets users reply to and provide a thumbs up or thumbs down to the comments of other users.

Finally, Yahoo added an expanded permissions-based activity hub that lets users access and view a profile summary and voting history of fellow users, Yahoo added. The hub also shows the number of times a user was the first person to vote or submit a story, the most recent stories they voted on and comments they have written, according to Yahoo.

Yahoo first launched Buzz in February, prompting many industry observers to call it a "Digg clone." The site was first available to selected users before it was opened to all publishers in August. 
 
Adam Ostrow, a blogger at Mashable, noted that the updates make Buzz look even more like Digg, but with Yahoo's more mainstream user base in mind.

"These new features are interesting for a couple reasons," he added. "First, they show the potential of the Yahoo Open Strategy -- users of Buzz essentially become users of Yahoo's new universal profile, helping create a huge social network behind the scenes. Additionally, it is starting to become increasingly obvious that Yahoo Buzz is going to keep adding the same features as Digg, as it did when it launched its Up & Coming section a couple months back."

Yahoo Buzz, he added, looks to be a bright spot for the company, which has been put in a precarious position this week after Google Inc. walked away from a proposed advertising deal between the two. After Google's announcement, Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang said a takeover by Microsoft Corp. might be the best thing for the company.

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