SVG is good. And it should be embedded, so that’s good too.
Each photo will be interpreted as one operation. It sounds like you had just one photo.
As for the cuts, the Glowforge uses different stroke colors to determine different operations. So a blue stroke and a red stroke would both be interpreted as separate operations.
Did you by chance make the cuts different colors in Inkscape?
My working theory at the moment is that the first file and second file were the same (minus the editing in the picture). The first upload it identified it as Proofgrade so it assigned cuts to all of the different colors (but still different operations on the left).
On the second upload, it couldn’t auto-identify, so it left everything as manual and you noticed the many operations.
If you click on unidentified material/unknown on the top left, you can manually select a Proofgrade material.
That guess may be wrong though. If you want to zip the SVG and upload it, I bet we can get it figured out pretty quick.