Monday, November 30, 2015

How I Got 58 Million Views on Google+

A couple of weeks ago Rebecca noticed that my Google+ profile was showing a craaaaaazy number of views & sent me this screengrab:

Yup, you're reading that right - that's over 58 MILLION views on a profile that I only set up late last year (because I needed it to change an annoying new setting Google had added) and had never used.

How the heck was this possible? Was it a bug? Or were gazillions of people actually visiting my profile on Google Plus for some weird reason?? I mean, a lot of people in the blogging world talk about how it's important to post on G+ but is it really this popular???

I was a bit baffled.

Then I (appropriately) did some Googling and it turns out that the view count isn't tracking the number of times your profile is viewed but in fact shows "how many times your content has been seen by other people, including your photos, posts, and profile page." (my italics) since October 2012.

This still sounds like a mystery (as I haven't been sharing any content on Google Plus!) but actually the answer is quite a simple one. Basically: the views are actually from my blog.

I use a Blogger blog (owned by Google) and the photos uploaded to my blog are stored in Picasa Web Albums... which Google are now redirecting to / merging with Google+ Photos. So even though these albums are set as private, all the photos on my blog are now "content" that's part of my Google+ account.

It seems that every time someone visits my blog and views some of my photos each one of those views is added to the tally of views showing on my Google+ profile. You read a blog post with ten photos in it, that's ten more views on the tally... and there are a lot of photos on my blog!

Which explains where that gigantic number came from, and why it keeps on going up. As I type this (on Saturday - look at me being all organised and scheduling posts in advance), the current view tally is 58,932,603, so that's 650,749 "views" in about ten days. Crazy.

So I have no idea what tiny number of people might actually be viewing my Google+ profile, but I am taking this as a sign from the universe that I should try and start actually using G+. You can find me here.

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