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
$111.78
Apple Inc.
-0.87
MSFT
$47.66
Microsoft Corpora
+0.14
GOOG
$516.35
Google Inc.
+5.25

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

NeoOffice 2014.6 - Mac-tailored, OpenOff...
NeoOffice is a complete office suite for OS X. With NeoOffice, users can view, edit, and save OpenOffice documents, PDF files, and most Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. NeoOffice 3.x... Read more
LibreOffice 4.3.5.2 - 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
CleanApp 5.0.0 Beta 5 - Application dein...
CleanApp is an application deinstaller and archiver.... Your hard drive gets fuller day by day, but do you know why? CleanApp 5 provides you with insights how to reclaim disk space. There are... Read more
Monolingual 1.6.2 - Remove unwanted OS X...
Monolingual is a program for removing unnecesary language resources from OS X, in order to reclaim several hundred megabytes of disk space. It requires a 64-bit capable Intel-based Mac and at least... Read more
NetShade 6.1 - Browse privately using an...
NetShade is an Internet security tool that conceals your IP address on the web. NetShade routes your Web connection through either a public anonymous proxy server, or one of NetShade's own dedicated... Read more
calibre 2.13 - Complete e-library manage...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
Mellel 3.3.7 - Powerful word processor w...
Mellel is the leading word processor for OS X and has been widely considered the industry standard since its inception. Mellel focuses on writers and scholars for technical writing and multilingual... Read more
ScreenFlow 5.0.1 - Create screen recordi...
Save 10% with the exclusive MacUpdate coupon code: AFMacUpdate10 Buy now! ScreenFlow is powerful, easy-to-use screencasting software for the Mac. With ScreenFlow you can record the contents of your... Read more
Simon 4.0 - Monitor changes and crashes...
Simon monitors websites and alerts you of crashes and changes. Select pages to monitor, choose your alert options, and customize your settings. Simon does the rest. Keep a watchful eye on your... Read more
BBEdit 11.0.2 - Powerful text and HTML e...
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

Make your own Tribez Figures (and More)...
Make your own Tribez Figures (and More) with Toyze Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
So Many Holiday iOS Sales Oh My Goodness...
The holiday season is in full-swing, which means a whole lot of iOS apps and games are going on sale. A bunch already have, in fact. Naturally this means we’re putting together a hand-picked list of the best discounts and sales we can find in order... | Read more »
It’s Bird vs. Bird in the New PvP Mode f...
It’s Bird vs. Bird in the New PvP Mode for Angry Birds Epic Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Telltale Games and Mojang Announce Minec...
Telltale Games and Mojang Announce Minecraft: Story Mode – A Telltale Games Series Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
WarChest and Splash Damage Annouce Their...
WarChest and Splash Damage Annouce Their New Game: Tempo Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] WarChest Ltd and Splash Damage Ltd are teaming up again to work | Read more »
BulkyPix Celebrates its 6th Anniversary...
BulkyPix Celebrates its 6th Anniversary with a Bunch of Free Games Posted by Jessica Fisher on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] BulkyPix has | Read more »
Indulge in Japanese cuisine in Cooking F...
Indulge in Japanese cuisine in Cooking Fever’s new sushi-themed update Posted by Simon Reed on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Lithuanian developer Nordcurrent has yet again updated its restaurant simulat | Read more »
Badland Daydream Level Pack Arrives to C...
Badland Daydream Level Pack Arrives to Celebrate 20 Million Downloads Posted by Ellis Spice on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Desti...
Far Cry 4, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Destiny, and Beyond – AppSpy Takes a Look at AAA Companion Apps Posted by Rob Rich on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] These day | Read more »
A Bunch of Halfbrick Games Are Going Fre...
A Bunch of Halfbrick Games Are Going Free for the Holidays Posted by Ellis Spice on December 19th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13-inch 2.6GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
Best Buy has lowered their price on the 2014 13″ 2.6GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro to $1149.99 on their online store for a limited time. That’s $150 off MSRP and the lowest price available for this... Read more
Kodak Returns to CES With New Consumer Produ...
Former photography colossus Kodak is returning to CES for the first time in three years where the Kodak booth (#21818 South Hall 1) will showcase a wide range of innovative, imaging-related products... Read more
Invaluable Launches New Eponymously -Named A...
Invaluable, the world’s largest online live auction marketplace, hhas announced the official launch of the Invaluable app for iPad, now available for download in the iTunes App Store. Invaluable... Read more
IDC Reveals Worldwide Mobile Enterprise Appli...
International Data Corporation (IDC) last week hosted the IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Mobile Enterprise Applications and Solutions 2015 Predictions Web conference. The session provided organizations... Read more
Hello Vino Wine App Launches “Safe Ride Home”...
Hello Vino has announced addition of a new “Get a Safe Ride Home” feature in its Food & Drink app with a direct connection to Uber, the technology platform that connects users with rides. The... Read more
DEVON-technologies Releases DEVONthink To Go...
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho based DEVON-technologies, LLC has updated DEVONthink To Go, its mobile companion to DEVONthink, to version 1.5. The update includes an iOS 8 extension, compatibility with the... Read more
The Apple Store offering free next-day shippi...
The Apple Store is now offering free next-day shipping on all in stock items if ordered before 12/23/14 at 10:00am PT. Local store pickup is also available within an hour of ordering for any in stock... Read more
It’s 1992 Again At Sony Pictures, Except For...
Techcrunch’s John Biggs interviewed a Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) employee, who quite understandably wished to remain anonymous, regarding post-hack conditions in SPE’s L.A office, explaining “... Read more
OtterBox Defender Series Case For iPad mini 3...
With their innovative Touch ID technology and ultrathin profile, the latest tranche of Apple iPads are more desirable than ever, and OtterBox has just announced the Defender Series custom-engineered... Read more
Holiday sales this weekend: MacBook Pros for...
 B&H Photo has new MacBook Pros on sale for up to $300 off MSRP as part of their Holiday pricing. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1699... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Store Leader Program (US) - Apple, I...
…Summary Learn and grow as you explore the art of leadership at the Apple Store. You'll master our retail business inside and out through training, hands-on experience, Read more
Project Manager, *Apple* Financial Services...
**Job Summary** Apple Financial Services (AFS) offers consumers, businesses and educational institutions ways to finance Apple purchases. We work with national and 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
*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...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.