“In September, Apple introduced Ping, an attempt to turn iTunes into a social space. It’s an intriguing idea: iTunes is the colossus of digital music, with well over 160 million users. People love to share music preferences and gush about their favorite artists,” Steven Levy writes for Wired. ” Bingo!”
“But Ping came out half-baked,” Levy writes. “In the past, Apple has won big by solving problems before its competitors. Here it’s struggling with problems other players have already cracked.”
Levy writes, “For example, the first thing you do on a social network is gather a list of ‘friends’ to connect with. That’s not easy on Ping. The few of my contacts who are there aren’t people I discuss music with. Though a deal that would have let users import contacts from Facebook reportedly fell through, Apple did announce Ping integration with Twitter in November. But the integration goes only so far: Ping comments can be automatically tweeted, but not the reverse. And I don’t use Twitter for socializing or music suggestions, as I do Facebook.”
Levy continues, “Apple needs a viral spark of its own. It had a great chance to create that. Ping offers accounts to artists, for users to follow. This could have turned Ping into a venue where fans made personal connections with their heroes. Unfortunately, the artists’ ‘activities’ are generally plugs obviously posted by flacks… Apple must do more.”
Read more in the full article – recommended – here.
MacDailyNews Take: We tried to very short-lived Facebook link in iTunes before Facebook blocked it and Apple pulled it. It would have been useful and may have changed our opinion of Ping altogether. Apple should have held onto Ping until they had a deal with Facebook. To plop Ping out there as they did, with a hack to Facebook, and handful of artists (mainly artists’ promotions), no real way to easily find friends*, and a slew of other issues, was Microsoftian.
*On Day One, when the Facebook button disappeared and we had to resort to emailing friends – “Have you tried Ping? Are you on Ping?” – we knew it was in trouble.