Why iTunes Ping stinks... but has potential
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Why iTunes Ping stinks... but has potential

While 1 million people have already enabled Ping in iTunes 10, plenty of picky early adopters have found it lacking.

On Wednesday, following a keynote address from Steve Jobs, Apple released iTunes 10, the latest version of the popular media management software. One of its major features is "Ping," a new music social network from Apple.

According to an Apple press release, over 1 million people have already enabled Ping in iTunes 10, making it a pretty successful launch by most standards. Nevertheless, plenty of Ping's pickier early adopters have found it to be lacking in a number of ways, citing major perceived failures and sundry minor annoyances, including the following.

1) No way to "like" or "post" podcasts on your profile. This is a major FAIL for anyone who listens to podcasts more than they listen to music (myself included). Obviously it's also a major frustration for podcasters. Apple has made no announcement about whether podcasts will be integrated into Ping in the future.

2) No way to like or post iPhone/iPad/iPod touch apps on your profile. This wasn't as big of a deal for me, but a lot of people have been complaining about it. Since Apple has a monetary incentive to let users share their favorite iOS apps, I think it's likely that we'll see App Store integration soon.

3) Very few artists to follow. At launch, the very short list included Lady GaGa (by far the most popular featured artist) as well as Coldplay, Dave Matthews Band, Diddy, Jack Johnson, Linkin Park, Shakira, Taylor Swift, U2, Yo-Yo Ma, and few I'm less familiar with. A handful of others were just added to the Featured list, including Death Cab for Cutie, Nine Inch Nails, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden. It may not be a terrible list depending on your taste in music, but still, Ping launched with only 14 featured artists you could follow, and it currently has 27. That's it.

Even if there were a lot of other artists to choose from, there's no easy way to see who is most followed by your friends, so you can't get personalized recommendations based on who your friends are following (or, if you can, it's difficult to tell because of how few featured artists there are). Presumably the number of featured artists will continue to improve in the coming weeks. In the mean time, here's a tip: try searching for your favorite artist anyway; some are there in stealth, such as Al Yankovic and Weezer.

4) No way to import friends. Any good social network will allow you to either upload your contacts database or find friends by connecting to another of your social network profiles. Not Ping. You can either manually search for the name of each and every person you want to add, or paste in a bunch of e-mail addresses and annoy the heck out of every person you know who you think might have signed up for Ping. Facebook integration was a planned feature but was yanked at the last minute due to disagreements between Facebook and Apple. Here's hoping that the ability to automatically search for people in your Address Book is coming soon.

5) Ping only cares about what you purchase, not what you listen to. Fans of other music social networks like Last.fm are quick to point out that Ping doesn't let you share what you're listening to, which decreases Ping's usefulness for music discovery. If your friends are still listening to an album they purchased a few months before Ping launched, or even 10 years before, you may never know it. Heck, even Microsoft's Zune Social network (which launched in 2007) gave users the ability to automatically share what they're listening to right from the start. Perhaps Apple delayed this feature in hopes that it would reduce the media's awareness of...

6) Privacy issues. Yeah, every social network has 'em. One thing that surprised me about Ping is that your real name, first and last, is now associated with all previous reviews you've ever written on iTunes. Many (if not most) people tend to be a little more critical and less forgiving when a pseudonym is attached to their reviews than when their full name is. And yes, Apple really does require you to use your real name in Ping, because it's tied to your iTunes billing information. I guess this makes sense on some level because searching by a person's name is currently the only way to find someone on Ping. Maybe Apple hopes that people will be less likely to leave critical reviews after signing up for Ping; fewer bad ratings on songs and apps could potentially translate into slightly increased sales for Apple, one might presume.

7) No notifications when people follow you. You have to manually check into Ping to see whether someone has started following you. With other popular networks like Twitter and Facebook, you can choose to be notified by e-mail when you get a new follower. If you follow a friend on Ping, you just have to hope that your friend logs into Ping eventually and notices that you've followed them, or I suppose you could find some other way to contact them directly and ask them to follow you back. (That's assuming, of course, that they'd want to follow you back. After all, this is a music social network, so should you really expect people to follow you back if you're a Justin Bieber fan and the only thing they listen to is death metal?)

Follow notification would be a simple feature to implement, and it's in Apple's best interest to add it because the more times people check into Ping, the greater the chance that people will buy a new song or album based on a friend's recommendation and thus add to Apple's growing pile of cash (about $46 billion and counting).

8) Compatibility. Frankly, I'm not surprised that iTunes 10 (and thus Ping) doesn't work with Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger, since iTunes was pretty much the only thing Apple had still been updating for the striped cat OS anyway. Apple no longer patches vulnerabilities that exist in Tiger, so incidentally from a security perspective it's good that Apple's giving users another reason to upgrade. For those of you stragglers still on Tiger, you'll have to at least buy an upgrade to Leopard, assuming your Mac supports it. If not, Apple will be happy to sell you an Intel Mac. That's quite a price to pay if all you care about is upgrading to iTunes 10. Technically this is more of a gripe about iTunes than about Ping, except for the fact that you can only use Ping in iTunes. Which brings me to my next point...

9) You can only use Ping in iTunes. Unfortunately, this experience is kind of klunky at best. For instance, there's no way to open multiple tabs like you can in a browser. But hey, it makes absolutely certain that people have access to the iTunes Store on any computer where they might want to use Ping since, let's face it, the main reason Apple developed Ping in the first place is to make more money.

10) It's not very polished. In the first couple days of using it, I've already noticed a number of little bugs and annoyances that make Ping feel like it's lacking the Apple "polish." If one of your top 10 favorite songs has an apostrophe near the beginning of the title, the whole rest of the title gets cut off, so "Weird Al" Yankovic's track "Don't Download This Song" appears as "Don" in my favorites. Also, if you have a nickname you want to include alongside your own real name (not really a supported feature, I'll admit), you have to be careful about special characters that might make it difficult for people to search for you; I had to input my name as "Josh Long ( the JoshMeister )"—note the odd spaces between the parenthesis—in order to show up in search results for "the JoshMeister" (which is how I'm known on most social networks and to my podcast listeners).

In spite of all that, Ping is actually starting to grow on me, and I think it has a lot of potential. If Apple quickly adds more artists and the features that fans are begging for, Ping could turn out to be a pretty useful social network for music junkies—and hopefully podcast and app enthusiasts, in the future.

-- Josh Long

Josh Long is the producer and host of MacTech Live, the official podcast of MacTech Magazine (http://www.mactech.com/live). You can find him on Ping and various other social networks at (http://social.thejoshmeister.com).

 
AAPL
$102.57
Apple Inc.
+0.32
MSFT
$45.09
Microsoft Corpora
+0.21
GOOG
$570.78
Google Inc.
+1.58

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

VueScan 9.4.41 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
Cloud 3.0.0 - File sharing from your men...
Cloud is simple file sharing for the Mac. Drag a file from your Mac to the CloudApp icon in the menubar and we take care of the rest. A link to the file will automatically be copied to your clipboard... Read more
LibreOffice 4.3.1.2 - Free Open Source o...
LibreOffice is an office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, drawing tool) compatible with other major office suites. The Document Foundation is coordinating development and... Read more
SlingPlayer Plugin 3.3.20.505 - Browser...
SlingPlayer is the screen interface software that works hand-in-hand with the hardware inside the Slingbox to make your TV viewing experience just like that at home. It features an array of... Read more
Get Lyrical 3.8 - Auto-magically adds ly...
Get Lyrical auto-magically add lyrics to songs in iTunes. You can choose either a selection of tracks, or the current track. Or turn on "Active Tagging" to get lyrics for songs as you play them.... Read more
Viber 4.2.2 - Send messages and make cal...
Viber lets you send free messages and make free calls to other Viber users, on any device and network, in any country! Viber syncs your contacts, messages and call history with your mobile device,... Read more
Cocktail 7.6 - General maintenance and o...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for OS X that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more
LaunchBar 6.1 - Powerful file/URL/email...
LaunchBar is an award-winning productivity utility that offers an amazingly intuitive and efficient way to search and access any kind of information stored on your computer or on the Web. It provides... Read more
Maya 2015 - Professional 3D modeling and...
Maya is an award-winning software and powerful, integrated 3D modeling, animation, visual effects, and rendering solution. Because Maya is based on an open architecture, all your work can be scripted... Read more
BBEdit 10.5.12 - Powerful text and HTML...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

The Walking Dead Pinball Review
The Walking Dead Pinball Review By Blake Grundman on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: DECISIONS, DECISIONS...Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Zen Studios is at it again, taking a property that would never seem to work... | Read more »
Stupeflix Has Released a Major Update fo...
Stupeflix Has Released a Major Update for Replay Posted by Jessica Fisher on August 29th, 2014 [ permalink ] iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad | Read more »
ALONE… Review
ALONE… Review By Jennifer Allen on August 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: MINIMALISTIC AND TOUGHUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Tough yet satisfying, ALONE… is a challenging endless flyer with some suitably sensitive... | Read more »
Hyperlapse Review
Hyperlapse Review By Jennifer Allen on August 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: SPEEDY VIDEO SNAPSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Want to make a great time-lapse video quickly? Hyperlapse is perfect for that.   | Read more »
Back To Bed Review
Back To Bed Review By Jennifer Allen on August 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: STYLISH BUT LIMITEDUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad It looks gorgeous, but Back to Bed is actually a fairly simple and uneventful puzzle game.   | Read more »
New Cars, New Locations, and a New Seaso...
New Cars, New Locations, and a New Season in Asphalt 8: Airborne Update Posted by Jessica Fisher on August 28th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Award Winning Children’s Book Bedtime fo...
Bedtime for Sarah Sullivan is a children’s storybook that emphasizes the importance of going to bed, dreams, and those magical moments right before being tucked in. Now Kelly Paniagua, author of the award-winning children’s book, is planning to... | Read more »
Happy Cube Death Arena Review
Happy Cube Death Arena Review By Jordan Minor on August 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: CUBEDUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Happy Cube Death Arena is adorably violent, but very, very shallow.   | Read more »
8bit Doves, the New Game from Icebreaker...
8bit Doves, the New Game from Icebreaker Developers Nitrome, is Now Available – and in Four Colours Posted by Ellis Spice on August 28th, 2014 [ | Read more »
Ace Ferrara and the Dino Menace Review
Ace Ferrara and the Dino Menace Review By Nadia Oxford on August 28th, 2014 Our Rating: :: DINO-MYTEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Ace Ferrara and the Dino Menace combines space combat and weird humor into a fun game... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

New 21″ 1.4GHz iMac on sale again for $999, s...
Best Buy has the new 21″ 1.4GHz iMac on sale for $999.99 on their online store. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Choose free shipping or free local store pick up. Price is for online orders only, in-... Read more
Smartphone Outlook Remains Strong for 2014, U...
According to a new mobile phone forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, more than 1.25 billion smartphones will be shipped worldwide in 2014,... Read more
Save up to $60 with Apple refurbished iPod to...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 5th generation iPod touches available starting at $149. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free. Many, but not all... Read more
12-Inch MacBook Air Coming in 4Q14 or 2015 –...
Digitimes’ Aaron Lee and Joseph Tsai report that according to Taiwan-based upstream supply chain insiders, Apple plans to launch a thinner MacBook model either at year end 2014 or in 2015, and that... Read more
Sapphire Screen “Most Wanted” iPhone 6 New Fe...
According to the ‘uSell.com iPhone Most Wanted Survey’ — a representative survey of 1,000 U.S. smartphone users conducted by used iPhone marketplace uSell.com — close to half of all smartphone users... Read more
The iPad’s Real Competitive Challenger (Not S...
It’s been my contention for some time that the iPad is suffering from something of an identity crisis, and I suspect that may be a factor in slackening sales this year. Apple can’t seem to decide... Read more
13-inch 2.6GHz/256GB Retina MacBook Pro on sa...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 2.6GHz/256GB Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1379 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP. Read more
Life Inventory iOS Apps – Learn to Know Thyse...
James Hollender’s Life Inventory apps s are now on sale with 20% off thru Labor Day, 09/01/2014. This is a great opportunity to get started on that Moral Inventory you’ve been putting off doing for... Read more
Pocket Watch, LLC. Reveals Cloud Server For P...
Beaumont, Texas based Pocket Watch, LLC. has announced the availability of its new ActivePrint Cloud Server Powered by Raspberry Pi. With this small standalone box almost any USB printer or available... Read more
902it Simplifies Area Code Changes For Nova S...
The east coast Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are phasing in 10 digit telephone dialing, to be fully in place by November, in order to accommodate a second area code to... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Project Manager / Business Analyst, WW *Appl...
…a senior project manager / business analyst to work within our Worldwide Apple Fulfillment Operations and the Business Process Re-engineering team. This role will work Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.