Google+, Day 8: I'm Not Loving the Circles Interface

30 Days With Google+: Day 8

Conceptually, I like Circles. I understand the simple logic of segregating contacts based upon my real life relationships, or the level of personal information I am comfortable sharing with various groups. But, the actual interface of dragging and dropping contacts into different circles? Yeah--I'm over that.

First, I'll point out an anomaly I have noticed with the Circles numbers. I have 126 different contacts organized into one or more Google+ Circles. If I click on the Circles icon at the top of Google+ and view my Circles, it says "People in your circles (126)".

I like the concept of separating my social network into Circles.
But, when I click on my name at the top left of Google+ to view my profile and Google+ entries, it says "In Tony's circles (116)". As if the disparity between the two numbers isn't weird enough, the number that shows up here on my page seems to fluctuate. One time it says 116, the next 119, then 117. Keep in mind, I am not adding or removing anyone from my Circles--so this number should remain constant.

I'll have to check with Google to find out what the deal is. If any readers can explain the difference between the two numbers, or why the one number seems to change even though I haven't added or removed anyone from my Circles, feel free to chime in on the comments.

OK, weird number consistency anomaly aside, I am no longer enjoying the Circles interface. I uploaded my contacts from Outlook so now I have roughly 400 users to choose from to drag and drop into Circles.

I do like that I can click on multiple contacts--without having to hold down the Ctrl key or anything--and then drag them as a group to a Circle. That is very helpful. I don't really like the cutesy interface of little buttons with profile photos or avatars for each contact, though. I'd like to have some options to display the contacts differently--like just a list of names.

It's not really the users I am following that bothers me, though, it's the ones following me. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate having as many followers as possible, and I enjoy the different perspectives and points of view that come with a diverse audience. But managing the followers is a tedious.

The novelty of the drag and drop Circles interface is worn off, though. It is tedious.
When I click on the 'People who've added you' link at the top of the Circles page--currently 540 of them--it displays them in some random order which Google+ claims to be sorted by "Relevance". Relevance to what? I'd seriously like to get some details on this "relevance" algorithm, because as far as I can tell it is a completely random jumble of people--most of whom I don't know from Adam, with a few of the users I am following in my own Circles thrown in here or there.

Thankfully, there are other options. I already know who I have in my own Circles, and I am really only interested in seeing other people who have added me to their Circles who I might know and want to add to my Circles as well. So, I sort the contacts based on "Not yet in circles".

That helps, but not by much. There is no easy way for me to tell how--or if--I have any connection or association with these people. I have to double-click on each one to go to that contact's profile in order to see the 'People in common' and try to determine where our social networks intersect or overlap. I'd like Google+ to display the contacts we have in common when I hover over the user button.

Apparently, this is not going to be the way I add users to my own Circles. If you know me, and you have added me to a Circle, don't be offended if you are not in any of my Circles yet. Drop me an email and let me know. Make sure you tell me which email address your Google profile is connected to so I don't end up adding some other email address really get things confused.

Enough about Circles, already. Tomorrow I am going to move on from picking on Circles, and check out Google+ Sparks.

Read the last "30 Days" series: 30 Days With the iPad

Day 7: Nobody Wants to Claim These Invitations

Day 9: Playing With Sparks

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