Today, as the folks at Twitter announced in a blog post, they have released "Twitter Name Search" which allows you to search on a name. If you go to the URL, http://twitter.com/search/users, you'll get the search box shown on the right. Enter a search string and you'll get back results ranked by the number of followers that each person has.
You can also simply click the "Find People" link on the top of the Twitter web interface and instead of only being able to invite people to Twitter, the first tab now shows the search interface:
Now the search feature does have a few limitations. As Ev noted in his tweet, it searches only the Name field (although I found it also searches the "Username"). So you are, of course, limited to searching on what people put in there. For instance, I searched on "RJ", did not find the person I was looking for (our CTO) and then noticed that in his Twitter profile his "Name" field is the same as his Twitter username - which doesn't include "RJ". So naturally I won't find him.
The search also doesn't always seem to be complete. I did a search on "Udell" expecting to find both Jon and his wife Luann but was surprised to find that only Jon (and three others) appeared, yet Luann clearly has "Udell" in her Name field. In a couple of other searches that yielded a number of results, the ranking wasn't always exactly in the right order, as shown in the image to the right. One wonders if the Twitter folks are sorting into "buckets" of accounts that have similar numbers of followers and then giving those results back.
Regardless of these issues, which will no doubt be fixed as Twitter works on the newly-released functionality, it is great to finally have this feature and be able to do some searching of the Twitter namespace.
Naturally I'd like more... :-) For instance, I'd love to be able to search on the location field so that, for example, I could find the names of all the Twitter users within my region - or within a region that I'll be visiting at some point in time. It would also be great to be able to search on the bio or website fields....
Ah, but for the moment we can try the Twitter Name Search and see who we can find... (Thanks, Twitter, for adding that in.)