Twitter CEO Evan Williams just announced (on Twitter) that the service has finally launched a belated people search function. It doesn't work perfectly but logged in users will now have a much easier time finding other users by searching the name field for peoples' real names. It's quite handy.
It's pretty crazy to think that this service has become as high profile (if not popular) as it has without the ability to search for users by their names. Now that it's here there are other search functions we still find more useful, though.
Unfortunately the search sometimes misses people - at first test at least it was unable to find Marshall Kirkpatrick, though it was able to find marshallk.
MG Seigler complains on Venturebeat that basic search of messages still isn't integrated into the main site yet, moths after the acquisition of Twitter search engine Summize. That doesn't bother us at all - we've just visited a Twitter search results page for "marshallk OR RRW OR marshalk OR RWW OR ReadWriteWeb OR marshalk OR Jobwire OR sarahintampa" so many times that's the first place our browsers go when we type "s" into the address bar.
Likewise, the most useful Twitter search experience is often a 3rd party site, Twellow, which searches user description fields and categorizes users by occupation and interests! That's a great way to get involved with Twitter fast - something many people could use help with; an estimated half milloin Twitter users still aren't following anyone at all.
You can test out the new Twitter people search for yourself here.