Twitter Tests People Finder Tool - InformationWeek
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11/19/2010
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Twitter Tests People Finder Tool

Microblogging site rolling out features to simplify searching for relevant users to follow.

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Twitter currently is testing new ways for accountholders to locate and follow new people, a challenge commonly expressed by users of the popular microblogging platform.

The site has created a new People tab, placed next to Twitter's existing Home, Profile, and Messages tabs on its home page, according to Mashable. Twitter also has another version that features a Find People tab, Mashable said. In addition, the revised site suggests friends; lets users browse other Twitter users based on interests; or find other Twitter accountholders via services such as LinkedIn and Messenger, or email providers such as Hotmail, Gmail, and Yahoo, according to the report. Twitter continues to show a list of accounts a user recently has followed, and to recommend similar individuals or companies.

Prior to testing this feature, Twitter offered limited recommendation services, an aspect some users viewed as a shortfall of the service. However, several third parties jumped into the void, providing a variety of services designed to expand Twitter users' circles.

Google Follow Finder, for example, analyzes public social graph information -- both following and follower lists -- on Twitter to find people that users might want to follow, according to Google. Microsoft publishes Bing Social's Recommendations for Influential Twitter Users, and LinkedIn users can opt to follow fellow accountholders who tweet. Other services include Listorious, Twellow, TweepSearch, Twubble, Twitterel, Twinester, TweetFind, TwitDir, Tweepz, Twibes Twitter Groups, and WeFind.

Listorious allows members to search via topic, region, or profession. "By answering some questions through Listorious rather than directly on Twitter, your answers are organized, in depth, and have archive value. It's like a magazine interview," the company said on its website.

Locating the most relevant people to track is only becoming more difficult as Twitter grows. As of September, the site had 175 million registered users who wrote 95 million tweets per day, the company said. Twitter needs to address this problem, though: The company expects to hit 1 billion users, Evan Williams, Twitter's co-founder and former CEO, said at an event at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco last month.

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