Yahoo Plays Catch Up On All Fronts: Buzz=Digg; Open Search=Google/Ask Search

We have seen it so many times: any new service from Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), however good or different it may be from others in functionalities, will never be able to shake off the catching-up-on-the-joneses tag. Such is the case with two new services Yahoo is launching tonight.

— The first one is Yahoo Buzz, which is like Digg, Reddit and countless others in the social news space. One major addition: it will host stories from about 100 publishers, both large and small, in addition to users submitting story links from around the Web. It is also taking data from popular Internet search terms in the news, and crossing them with Buzz stories. The idea is not to make Buzz into a destination, but embed the button and functionalities everywhere else. The big thing for publishers: if the story gets “buzzed up” to Yahoo homepage (decided by Yahoo editors), and then the huge funnel of traffic as a result. More on this here.

— The other is Open Search, which allows publishers to add extra info in search results using APIs…for example, displaying a restaurant in a search result may include direct links to a reservations page or reviews, something Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has been doing for a while on some of its top results, and Ask has been doing a variation of it for some time too. Only this Open Search Platform with the APIs allows third parties to modify search results, something that others would adopt easily as well. More about it here on Yahoo Search blog.

BW’s Catherine Holahan says it best: “What Yahoo may need most right now, as it tries to prove it deserves its independence, isn’t Buzz. It’s fresh ideas.”

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