August 24, 2007

Twitter People Search

This week profile search was added to Twitter, as announced on Twitter and on the Twitter blog.

Earlier this week, Terraminds, a brand new Twitter search engine was announced, also on Twitter and on a blog. Terraminds allows to search in updates and also in users.

The arrival of these two brand new Twitter people search tools is a good opportunity to review three Twitter people search engines.

Twitter search


Launched : August 22, 2007
Author : Twitter Inc.
Info shown : account name, photo, name, location, web, bio, last message
Results : public and private twitter accounts matching the search argument(s), if your account is accepted as follower the last message will be shown
Grouping : Results in groups of 20
Search space : account name, name, web, location and bio
Search arguments : partial matching "travel" will also match "traveler", multiple terms accepted "John Mexico" will return all Twitter users where "John" appears in one of the fields and where "Mexico" also appears in one the fields, not necessary the same field containing "John"
Response times : fast
Additional information : Only available if you are logged in
A few test cases :
Miami : 275
Travel : 652
Linkedin : 183

Twitdir


Launched : May 24, 2007
Author : Laurent Pantanacce
Info shown : account name, photo, name, location, web, bio, last message, number of following, followers, favorites and updates including indication if Twitter accounts appears in top 10, top 100 or top 1000
Results : only public Twitter accounts matching the search argument(s)
Grouping : Results in groups of 5
Search space : account name, name, web, location and bio
Search arguments : partial matching "travel" will also match "traveler", only full string matching "John Smith" will not give the same results as "Smith John", "John Mexico" will return only the Twitter accounts where this search argument can be found in one of the fields
Response times : rather slow
Additional information : Over 400,000 Twitter users known to Twitdir, Twitdir offers also Top 100 lists for number of followers, followed, updaters, favouriters
A few test cases :
Miami : 262
Travel : 618
Linkedin : 40

Terraminds


Launched : August 20, 2007
Author : Chris Laux
Info shown : account name, photo, name, location, web, bio
Results : only public Twitter accounts matching the search argument(s)
Grouping : Results in groups of 20
Search space : account name, name, web, location and bio
Search arguments : Full matching of search string : "travel" will not return "traveler", multiple terms accepted "John Mexico" will return all Twitter users where "John" appears in one of the fields and where "Mexico" also appears in one the fields, not necessary the same field containing "John"
Response times : very fast
Additional information : in operation only for a few days, number of known Twitter users is probably still rather limited
A few test cases :
Miami : about 32 twitter users who posted in the last 1 week
Travel : about 75 twitter users who posted in the last 1 week
Linkedin : about 1 twitter users who posted in the last 1 week


There are also search tools capable of searching for Twitter messages. See my previous post on this subject. Indirectly these tools allow also to look up Twitter users based on search arguments appearing in their messages.

Is there still a future for Twitter people search tools now that Twitter has launched profile search ? I personally think there is still room for Twitter people search tools offering something more. What is currently lacking is advanced search. None of the search tools accept complex query syntax with operators as "and", "or" and "not". Futhermore, currently all fields are searched. It is not possible to limit a search to a specific field, e.g. only Twitter with miami as location.

3 comments:

al3x said...

I'm the developer at Twitter responsible for the search feature. It is actually possible to limit your query by field. Try "location:texas" or "description:funny" or "name:bob" or "screen_name:bob123" or "email:bob@bob.com" or "url:http://www.bob.com".

Laurent Pantanacce said...

Hi I'm Laurent Pantanacce, TwitDir's developper.

First of all, thanks for the article.

I just wanted to add something: Twitter is also doing its search on the URL.
If I add the search on the URL too, here are the results:
Miami : 261
Travel : 656
Linkedin : 129
These figures look more accurate!

Laurent
http://twitdir.com

Ranganath said...

http://twitterfacts.blogspot.com/2007/08/twitter-people-search.html