The Problem with Google+ on Android, and How I Fixed it

I Like Google

Yes, I really do. My 'love affair' started with itself, when it first really started whacking Alta Vista's [Alta What?] arse, and kicking Yahoo in the balls. Along it came, with a clean and simple interface and got to the nitty gritty without all the fuss. Then [in no particular order] along came Gmail, Docs, Labs, Wave, and Buzz [to name only but a few] - services I've used and liked. Google also has me in the physical world - I love my Pure Android Experience in a phone, an experience that is out smarting everything out there [including iOS].

And then along comes Google+

I Love Google+

This is no love affair. This is something else. Google has pulled off the Social Networking Game, and has me enraptured. I avoided FaceBook for a very long time, and only created an account because 'everyone else was doing it'. I have now pulled away from the FaceBook service, and am not missing it. Google+ comes along and I jump in on day 1 [actually just before day 2, and before they closed off the invite system for the first time] - no hesitation. It just works - on both large and small computers.

But it wasn't all roses, unfortunately.

The Google+ App Force-feeds my Phone

Everything was going swimmingly, on both the Desktop Experience, and the Smartphone Experience until I noticed the internal space on my phone being gobbled up rather rapidly. I didn't have a whole lot of internal space left when installing the Google+ App - approximately 50MB remained. Google+ took 8MB straight off the bat - something I was prepared for, and was happy to live with. While using Google+ on the Desktop, I added the Suggestions that Google provided to my circles [as of now, over 3000 Google+ users can be found listed in my various Circles] - adding 100's in each sitting. When heading back to my phone, I noticed the internal space remaining was slipping away from me. With some investigation, I found my 'Contact Storage' App was creeping up in size, ballooning quite rapidly to over 10MB [before Google+ it was consistantly under the 1MB mark]. What was going on?

Digging Deeper

It appeared that every single person I'd Circled had been added to my Gmail contacts, and my phone was syncing all of my contacts from Gmail whether they had a phone number or not. The ballooning 'Contact Storage' App had over 3000+ persons listed [and was now an obese 15MB, leaving me with about 25MB internal storage factoring in cache files from the Browser App and other places], 315 of the people I wanted on my phone, and the rest - well, I'd have been happy for the rest to be within Google+ only, thanks Google... What was I to do? If I remove my Circled contacts from Gmail, I loose them from Google+ - certainly not what I wanted to have happen. I asked about for a solution, and although I had a few bites, nothing jumped out at me saying 'This is how you fix it!' - and I was not prepared [yet] to implement a solution that did show up several times [more on that later].

The Google+ App Throws Up

And then it happened - for the first time since I'd installed the App and kept up with the updates [yes, I'm on 1.0.5], Google+ experienced a 'Forced Close'. I didn't think too much - it is in Beta after all. So I restarted Google+ and attempted to respond to other peoples posts. Typed out replies on my phone, and hit send, and the message [have you tried writing a few paragraphs on the on-screen keyboard?] just sits there telling me that it is 'Sending...'. I wait a few more moments, still 'Sending...'. I wait longer than any sane person would wait, still 'Sending...'. Bummer... I closed down the App and tried again - same thing. I turned off my phone, turned it back on, and tried again - the same thing. O M G[s], my Android Experience was ruining my Google+ Experience [or is that the other way around?]. I asked again for solutions, and was jolted into trying to uninstall the App, and reinstalling it. I noted that I had 20MB internal storage available at this point. I followed through and uninstalled Google+, and cleared out some cache - taking me to 30MB internal storage. I reinstalled Google+, leaving me with 22MB internal storage. And I was back in business... For about 30 minutes...


You better believe there was a problem... No Google+... Same error... 'Sending...'

Can I Fix This

'Yes I can' I told myself. So I investigated and found my internal storage had once again hit 20MB. 'There had to be a connection with the amount of internal storage Google+ had to play with, against it's inability to post to my Stream' I thought. 20MB must have been that hard limit [on my phone]. But I had no wiggle room to make extra space without doing something drastic - I needed the Apps I've got installed, and ridding myself of the superfluous Apps recovered about 1.5MB internal storage for me to use. This wasn't looking good. So I contemplated the solution that I was unwilling to try before for about 10 seconds, and told myself 'to hell with it, do it'. So I did. And I'm sitting pretty currently with 41MB internal storage, and Google+ whirring away in the background...

Hmmm... What Was That? You Want to Know What I Did?

I'm sure you do... And I'm going to tell you. I had to open another Gmail account. I then had to take the 315 Contacts that I wanted from my original account, and copy/move them to my newer account. I was also going to have to have the two Gmail accounts on my phone - one account set up to sync with Gmail Contacts and nothing else, and the other account to sync with everything except my Gmail Contacts. And my initial apprehension of setting it up all came to naught - it's working fine, and given me back some space. My 'Contact Storage' App is back down to a slim 850KB, and the Google+ App is behaving itself rather well [for a Beta App ;-)]. I'm happy...

I Love Google+

I think I told you that already, but I'm not too sure...


Are you bringing Animated GIF's to the Android App, Google? Come on, you know you want to... I'm off to add more people to my Circles...
Lynne d Johnson's profile photoNishanth Menon's profile photoAlex Novelo's profile photoJohn Blount's profile photo
that can't be the best solution as you now have to manage multiple gmail accounts. Instead of taking up so much storage why can't I move it to my SD card and just buy a bigger card? 
The Biggest Apps over 5MB taking up my internal space [and cannot be moved to microSD]:
* Maps: 11.19MB; Google; 5.8.0
* Google+: 8.93MB; Google; 1.0.5
* Viber: 8.88MB;
* Music: 7.66MB; Google; 3.0.1
* Market: 7.32MB; Google; 3.0.27
* Gmail: 6.48MB; Google; 2.3.5
* Books: 5.45MB; Google; 1.3.5
* FaceBook: 5.23MB; 1.6.3
* QuickOffice: 5.18MB;2.0-GEP

Google needs to get their act together, really - they introduce APP2SD from Android 2.2 Froyo, and have not yet got their biggest Apps moved to microSD storage. Mozilla knows how to make an App - goes from 15MB on internal storage, down to 500KB on internal storage and 14.5MB on microSD. Come on Google...
TL;DR: Circles from Google+ were bloating my 'Contact Storage' database from 800KB to an Obese 15MB. Secondary effect - when internal storage hit 20MB, I couldn't post to Google+ from my phone. I had to create a second Gmail account for my phone contacts to sync to my phone, and prevent my Google+ enabled Gmail account from syncing any Contacts to my phone :-) Issues fixed in a clunky obtuse way - 'Contact Storage' database back down to 800KB.
Hi +Scott Wakeman, I saw you comment to +Punit Soni after his Hangout and thought I'd give this a read. I had my Contacts Storage blow out to 500+Mb a couple of weeks ago (I only had about 400 people in my Circles). I solved the problem by doing something else, which in hindsight was not the best solution.

I backed up my contacts from my phone to the SD card, then deleted all my contacts and re-synced them from Gmail. This in itself was fine, but what it meant was that I lost all the people that existed only as a G+ contact.

Their contact details were still in Gmail (under Other Contacts), and were therefore synced back to my phone. But, they were no longer in my circles. This is an absolute pain because I've had to go re-searching for all the wonderful people I've found here on G+

Anyway, lesson learned. If it happens again (fingers crossed), then I'll give your solution a go.
I'll also be willing to answer any questions +Team Google need to ask and have answered :-) +Paul Snedden Let's keep our fingers crossed that +Team Google can resolve both issues we've had without others needing to go through it too :-) Thanks +Punit Soni :-)
+Scott Wakeman +Paul Snedden Can you please let me know what devices you're running the app on? Pretty sure what you're hitting is a known issue that occurs when certain phones (like the ever popular Galaxy series) choose to sync all of your Circles contacts to your phone instead of just your 'My Contacts'. This causes the people from your Circles to show up in your phone and deletes them from Google+ if you try and delete them :(

We're working with the Android and contacts teams to alleviate this issue, in the meantime you can choose to show only contacts with a phone # in your contacts (to help you find people who are actual contacts more easily) but we don't have a simple workaround for the contacts storage issue at this time. Hopefully we can have contacts working properly for you soon.

In response to the general complaints about app size, it's def. something we're monitoring. Moving to SD card requires some tradeoffs that we're weighing, but we'll do our best to keep the app a manageable size for you in the meantime!
To clarify - NexusOne 2.3.4 Stock, not rooted, not unlocked (I like the 'Pure Android Experience'™, thanks Google).
I have an htc desire hd (2.3.3) and a Samsung galaxy tab 10.1v (not the 10.1)

I had the Contacts size problem on the phone and so that is where I did all my troubleshooting and deletion/ reimport of contacts
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