As expected, Yahoo Buzz has now launched – a site where "buzz-worthy" news articles are highlighted based on user votes, searching activity, and email sharing. Hot stories on Buzz may also get featured on the Yahoo home page, an added incentive to get publishers considering the program.
At launch, Buzz is said to have stories included from nearly 100 publishers. A future program will allow other publishers to participate.
It’s not clear if content is automatically submitted or if this happens only when a Buzz Badge is added to a story and used by readers at a site to submit to Buzz. How searches are used to weight particular content also isn’t clear.
My assumption is that Buzz looks for popular searches in key news categories, then runs an actual search against stuff submitted to Buzz to generate an initial list. Users can then review the list and vote items up or down. The number of times an item is emailed from Yahoo to someone is also a key factor.
We’ll likely take a closer look at the service in the near future. You can learn more about it via its help pages here; you’ll find related discussion here on Techmeme, and there was a post (now gone, at the moment) from Yahoo here.
Note that the "old" Yahoo Buzz — a long-standing feature that shows the most popular searches on Yahoo — remains. It has a new name, "Buzz Log," and moved to a new location. (Two, actually. The first uses the new Yahoo Buzz look. The second maintains the old-style look-and-feel.)