Google+, Day 17: Sorting Circles by “Relevance” Is Flaky
By Tony Bradley, PCWorld
Over the course of the 30 Days With Google+ series I have steadily acquired more people following me in Google+. Many of those users I know and interact with, and many of them are perfect strangers. I’d like to be able to easily identify the ones I know and add them to my Circles, but the “Relevance” filter in Google+ leaves a little something to be desired.
I am a fan of being able to view my Circles based on those I have in my Circles, and those who have me in Circles. When I was first starting out, this was an easy way to see who had added me, and then reciprocate by adding the person to one of my Circles–assuming I knew the user or had some reason to want to connect with them on Google+–I already learned my lesson on Twitter when it comes to expanding a social network the wrong way.
By default, the contacts in Circles listed under the people who have added me to their Circles section are sorted by “Relevance”. That sounds like it should be awesome. But, after examining it for a few days now, I have come to the conclusion that Google’s use of the term “Relevance” reminds me of the line from the movie A Princess Bride: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
If the users listed are listed by relevance, then my next question would be “relevant to who?” or “relevant based on what?”
My understanding is that the Google+ filter algorithm is supposed to be able to look at a broader picture of my interactions with people on Google+ as well as other Google entities (Gmail, Picasa, etc.) and identify those contacts that I appear to have an actual relationship with and give them priority over total strangers. If it actually worked, that would be a very useful feature.
Instead, I have one person listed first who I do know quite well, but don’t interact with frequently, followed by a few hundred people I have never heard of. Every now and then, someone I work with, or communicate with on a regular basis is sprinkled in randomly. People I interact with daily are listed 300 and 400 contacts down beneath people I have never heard of.
Google+ is a limited “Field Trial” so there will be bugs. I assume this is something that Google is aware of and working on.
I have contacted Google and I hope to be able to speak with one of the developers to get a better understanding of the logic behind the Relevance filter, and why it doesn’t seem to work.