Google April 14 followed up its tweet archive at Twitter's first Chirp conference with Google Follow Finder, a Twitter user locator based on Twitter's new @anywhere API.
This Google Labs tool lets users enter their Twitter user name or that of another Twitter user in a search box and receive suggestions of people to follow.
Unlike other Google Labs experiments where users must opt in, users just navigate to this separate Web page, http://followfinder.googlelabs.com/:
Type user account names in and, after 5-15 seconds (this latency needs to be lessened), you'll see suggested Twitter users:
If you see someone you want to follow, click "Follow on Twitter," and they'll be added to your following list. Lists in Google Follow Finder are generated using public following and follower lists on Twitter, according to Google Associate Product Manager Aaron Wise:
"For example, if you follow CNN and the New York Times on Twitter, and most people who follow CNN and the New York Times also tend to follow TIME, we'll suggest TIME as a "Tweep you might like." The list of 'Tweeps with similar followers' is simply a list of accounts with similar follower lists to yours."
It's a breath of fresh air from manually scouring the Twitter pages of the people you follow to find new folks to follow. Unfortunately, Follow Finder likes to spit back duplicate accounts, too:
If that bothers you, or you just don't like the service, there are other such tools out there, including Twitter's own Suggested Users lists and Listorious.
Follow Finder is great for the Google-centric users out there who like to use everything Google. (There are more than you know!)
This integration is based on Twitter's just launched @anywhere service so any site can add Twitter functionality.
Given that, I wonder if this is an extension of the existing agreement with Twitter, where the microblog with more than 100 million users forks over data on its users to Google's search index.
Again, we don't know the exact arrangement of that deal other than Google is paying Twitter to index tweets and present them pretty much the way it wants in its search engine results pages.
Update: Google tolde me April 15 Follow Finder is not in fact based on the existing deal: "Follow Finder is not based on any new business agreement with Twitter. Follow Finder relies on public Twitter social graph information and Twitter's new @anywhere frameworks to enable authentication."
Follow Finder could be fairly valuable in helping Twitter users find other "tweeps" as those of us who use the service are irritatingly known.