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Zuckerberg, top Google execs back to sharing follower list publicly on Google+

GooglePlusStatsJuly14

Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page and Sergey Brin have all gone back to publicly sharing who their followers on Google+ are, a day after the three tech execs, and a few other Google employees, went private.

The moves from public to private and back to public, has shuffled and reshuffled unofficial rankings of Google+'s top 100 most popular people as tracked by the website SocialStatistics.com, which also calls itself Google+ Statistics.

The site, which is built by the Amsterdam startup Twitter Counter, announced the ranking changes in a statement Thursday:

Never a dull moment when you're tracking Google+! Yesterday Mark Zuckerberg, along with several Google employees, closed off his profile so their numbers weren't visible anymore. Looks like today they reversed that setting. This completely reshuffles the top 100, again.

Back on top in the rankings as the most followed person on Google's new social network is Zuckerberg, the CEO and co-founder of Facebook, Google+'s biggest rival.

According to Google+ Statistics, the "Zuck" has 184,842 followers as of Thursday afternoon. Returning to second place is Google CEO Larry Page with 94,913 followers, followed by Sergey Brin (who co-founded Google with Page) in third with 71,781 followers.

Fourth is taken up on the list by Vic Gundotra, a senior VP at Google leading Google+. Like Zuckerberg, Page and Brin, Gundotra took his followers private and returned to public sharing Thursday.

In fifth is Robert Scoble, a tech blogger, who was ranked No. 1 for about a day when the top four users changed their privacy settings to private.

It might not be too odd that Page, Brin and Gundotra would go private and then back to public with the sharing of their followers on Google+. The social network is still in an invitation-only beta testing mode. Google isn't saying, but one could speculate that maybe the executives made the changes as part of some testing related to Google+.

But while it makes sense that Page, Brin and Gundotra would move in unison -- they're all Google execs working on making Google+ the best product it can be before it opens to the public -- it's odd that Zuckerberg would make the same changes in his privacy settings.

Surely, Zuckerberg wouldn't be looking to help Google test its social network, which is looking to capture Facebook users' time and attention. That leaves one to wonder whether the privacy changes were made purposefully, or if there might have been a bug in Google+ or Google+ Statistics' own programming.

So far, Google and Facebook have declined to comment to the Technology blog on the Google+ Statistics rankings, but if they do add some clarification, we'll update this post.

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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Twitter.com/nateog

Image: A screen shot of the Thursday, July 14, 2011, rankings of Google+ users by number of followers on the website Google+ Statistics. Credit: Socialstatistics.com.

 
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