Google Plus Circles Don’t Add Up

October 5, 2011
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After I noticed a problem with the accounting for circles in Google Plus, Natalie suggested I send feedback. So here it is:

1. Your profile tells you how many people are in your circles and how many have added you to their circles.

Circles1

After I noticed a problem with the accounting for circles in Google Plus, Natalie suggested I send feedback. So here it is:

1. Your profile tells you how many people are in your circles and how many have added you to their circles.

Circles1

2. Your circles management page (click the circles icon) tells you this information as well. But the numbers aren’t the same:

Circles2

3. There are 5 more people counted in the circles management page added to my circles than there are presented on my profile (31-26). My guess is that these 5 are people that I’m sharing via email only with. Ok – if that is the case, this needs to be clarified in the interface.

4. My profile indicates that there are 3 more people that have put me in my circle than the number of people accounted for in my circles management page (177-174). I can find people who have added me to their circle who are not present in the 177 people who are present on my profile. For example, if I go to Robert Scoble’s profile page I see this:

Circles3

but, when I bring up the set of people from my profile via the “view all” button I see no Robert Scoble (see below for how this was verified). Robert is in the view of people that I bring up from my circles management page, however.

It is tedious to verify who is present and who isn’t due to the way the interface is implemented (scrolling doesn’t lock on the rows of cards for people in either view and the underlying HTML / JSON is too dynamic to allow for the easy capture of all entries). The circles management page allows you to sort by alpha on name, so I can verify that people are there, but I can’t do this on the profile page view as their is no sorting option.

The way I verified that Scoble wasn’t in the profile view was as follows. I opened the Chrome browser in debug mode, brought up the ‘view all’ layer and copied the HTML. This only shows the HTML for the visible part of the set though. So I then scrolled down one step and copied again, repeating until I had scrolled through the entire list (thankfully I have very few followers).

By looking at the HTML, I see no sign of Robert (but I did spot check others whom I see in the view).

What is additionally weird is that Robert is present in the circles management view which claims to have fewer people than the profile page view where he is missing.

In summary there is either a problem in who this data is being presented to the user (and this user can’t understand it) or there is a simple bug that results in different people being visible in the profile page view compared to the circle management page view.

Update: since posting I noticed that the number reported in my circles management page went down by 1 but the same number is displayed on my profile page as before.