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Yahoo building buzz

Yahoo Buzz, the Digg-like social news site Yahoo unveiled as an invite-only service in February, is now open to all publishers.

Buzz launched with about 100 publishing partners, expanding quickly to more than 400. A handful of the top-rated stories from each day rotate into Yahoo's homepage, creating a deluge of traffic orders of magnitude greater than most sites are used to.

So now any publisher can place a button on their site to vote a story up on Buzz with a single click. If the publication doesn't have the button, Yahoo has created a submission page where readers can vote for their favorite stories.

The comparisons to Digg are inevitable, but for Yahoo, Buzz is just a part of a broad strategy to become the starting point of the Web, the hub of the wheel, as it were. The service builds on Yahoo's longstanding leadership in the portal category -- itself a business model with a questionable future. But Yahoo's dual missions of cracking open its platform and staking a claim as the crossroads of the Web has produced some pretty innovative results.

Now, fresh off of what had to be a brutal seven months for company morale, it will be a nice change of pace to see if the company (recently expanded to include Carl Icahn and associates) can actually make good on its turnaround strategy.

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