The Google Follow Finder feature seems pretty straightforward: You enter your Twitter username, then Google shares a list of people you don’t follow who you might be interested in, and of similar users. In both cases, Google says it’s analyzing the public social data in Twitter. Using popular Twitter slang, Google calls them “tweeps,” short for “Twitter peeps.”
“Tweeps you might like” is based on the idea that “People on Twitter who follow the users you do also tend to follow these accounts.” Google’s list of “Tweeps with similar followers” is basically a list of users who have similar follower lists.
When I tried this out, the results were solid, if not exactly revelatory — it suggested I should follow tech pundits like Jeremiah Owyang and Dave Winer, and it said that VentureBeat writer Dean Takahashi has a similar follower list. I suppose someone who spends less time on Twitter and thinks it’s “too hard to use” might find this a useful way to get started.
This feature is in Google’s Labs area for experimental applications, meaning it’s not a serious product yet, and may never be. But it suggests there are Googlers who realize that there’s value in searching not just the messages in Twitter, but also the social connections, and we can probably expect the company to continue exploring this idea.
Google and Twitter have periodically had acquisition talks, though Twitter and its investors have resisted the idea of an early sale, and Google currently pays Twitter a fee to include public Twitter posts in its search results.
Google made these announcements today to tie in with Chirp, Twitter’s developer conference in San Francisco.