A brief update on Google Plus Counter (gpc.fm)

30 Jul

When I started creating Google Plus Counter, I didn’t expect it to become only half as popular as it already did.

Here’s a brief update on stuff that I’m currently working on:

It’s kind of strange to see many lists lead by Google+ members, who actually never said anything publicly. The most prominent example being Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO. The updated detail popover, the one which animates in when you hover over a profile, now shows a little “has no posts” text, lowering your expectation if you actually plan to visit a profile.

I’ve also added a link that let’s you sort of blank-out those profiles:

I hope this will make it easier for you to discover new people on Google+ and fill your Circles!

While the Hall of Fame will continue to include no-posters, the new Top with Posts hall at http://gpc.fm/posters only lists active members. It is important to note, that my crawlers only see publicly available posts. Chances are, no-posters did share stuff within their circles, only.

I’ve also improved some of the internal mechanics for the site. The crawlers written in Python already did a pretty good job of updating the more than 30.000 profiles in gpc.fm’s index hourly, but they occasionally  missed to parse some of the profile info correctly. I’ve ironed out most of these bugs and at the same time improved speed. The crawlers have also been offloaded to a separate machine to keep up the great speed of the site.

Initially, the sidebar navigation and the suggested users have been coded into the dynamic part of the site. I’ve factored those snippets out. They are now static elements reused across the entire site and re-rendered hourly (like all the halls).

People have created more than 1.000 lists with the lists feature, introduced a few days ago. You can access it yourself at http://gpc.fm/lists. Lists provide you with an easy way to share Google+ Profiles. One good example is the Android Developers list at http://gpc.fm/l/androiddev.

I am totally aware, that the inability to edit lists once you’ve created them is desperately missing, but I wanted to get lists out first and see how it does.

Well, the wait is almost over!

I’ve finished all coding and am currently testing the implementation. Soon at the bottom of Google Plus Counter lists you’ll find an option to add or modify members:

In fact, the Android Developers list linked above has already been enabled for editing. I plan to roll out list editing this Sunday night (CET). You don’t have to do anything, gpc.fm will re-render all existing lists and add the required markup. Just make sure that you set a password, when creating lists. Should you have forgotten to do so, contact me at Google+ and I’ll be happy to help.

A final remark: As described a bit more in-depth in a previous blog post, most parts of gpc.fm are actually static.

This has turned out to be a great design decision as the site is hit by some serious traffic after having been featured by The Next Web, WebProNews and others. Technically, whenever somebody visits one of the Halls or a List, no PHP and no database queries are involved at all.

Instead, the worker processes written in Python are constantly rendering static HTML and move the final pages into the correct places inside the folder structure, thus keeping the content dynamic without passing every single HTTP request down the stack.

I’d like to thank everybody for the great feedback I’ve received and sharing gpc.fm with their peers.

As always, I appreciate getting in touch with my readers, visitors and users. Find me at Google+ or Twitter.

Last but not least I’d like to thank Sagar Kamdar who is with Google and has helped me setting up the verified author relationship for Google Plus Counter. If you search for my service, my Google+ Profile now shows up within the search results!

This is super cool and Sagar has been extremely responsive – and patient. This seems to be true for all of the Google employees these days and I truly admire the spirit and culture Google manages to keep up despite it’s enormous growth.

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2 replies
  1. Herbert says:

    I am an academic and want to get on the academics list!

    Cannot figure out how!


  2. Gatto999 says:

    Please, could you insert my Google Plus profile ?…


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© Copyright 2017 by Ralf Rottmann.