Following the move of Facebook and Google Plus, Twitter has built its own people directory, which lists all the public profiles under the same roof. The main purpose of this feature is not to simplify the task of searching someone on Twitter but to help search engines like Google index the great amount of profiles, which sometimes can be overwhelming even for Google’s capable spider.
Public Twitter profiles can be browsed in an alphabetical order, page by page, with no less than 100 results being shown on each and any one of them. The data contained lists every single account, including those written in non-Latin characters, so one could consider the directory as a helpful place for finding someone’s account. Unfortunately, the Twitter directory has no search function, but the typing the following phrase into Google will surely help:
site:twitter.com/i/directory/profiles “profile name”
How large is Twitter really?
A question which may be on the minds of many data enthusiasts can be soon answered with the help of this directory. Considering that most Twitter accounts are listed as public, the full number of existing profiles can be estimated by looking at the number of indexed pages by Google, of this directory. At the time being, they were about 322,000 results, meaning around 32 million profiles.
Taking a peak outside the camp, Facebook and Google alike have constructed their own directories, where people are listed using the same criteria. Comparing the indexed pages of these three sites, we’ve found that Facebook has over 500 million users, a lot more than Twitter. Sadly, Google keeps its data hidden so an estimate number could have been retrieved.