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).

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Paragraphs 1.0.1 - Writing tool just for...
Paragraphs is an app just for writers. It was built for one thing and one thing only: writing. It gives you everything you need to create brilliant prose and does away with the rest. Everything in... Read more
BlueStacks App Player 0.9.21 - Run Andro...
BlueStacks App Player lets you run your Android apps fast and fullscreen on your Mac. Version 0.9.21: Note: Now requires OS X 10.8 or later running on a 64-bit Intel processor. Initial stable... Read more
Apple iTunes 12.2 - Play Apple Music...
Apple iTunes lets you organize and stream Apple Music, download and watch video and listen to Podcasts. It can automatically download new music, app, and book purchases across all your devices and... Read more
Apple Security Update 2015-005 - For OS...
Apple Security Update 2015-005 is recommended for all users and improves the security of OS X. For detailed information about the security content of this update, please visit: http://support.apple.... Read more
Apple HP Printer Drivers 3.1 - For OS X...
Apple HP Printer Drivers includes the latest HP printing and scanning software for OS X Lion or later. For information about supported printer models, see this page. Version 3.1: The latest printing... Read more
Epson Printer Drivers 3.1 - For OS X 10....
Epson Printer Drivers installs the latest software for your EPSON printer or scanner for OS X Yosemite, OS X Mavericks, OS X Mountain Lion, and OS X Lion. For more information about printing and... Read more
Xcode 6.4 - Integrated development envir...
Xcode provides everything developers need to create great applications for Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Xcode brings user interface design, coding, testing, and debugging into a united workflow. The Xcode... Read more
OS X Yosemite 10.10.4 - Apple's lat...
OS X Yosemite is Apple's newest operating system for Mac. An elegant design that feels entirely fresh, yet inherently familiar. The apps you use every day, enhanced with new features. And a... Read more
Dash 3.0.2 - Instant search and offline...
Dash is an API Documentation Browser and Code Snippet Manager. Dash helps you store snippets of code, as well as instantly search and browse documentation for almost any API you might use (for a full... Read more
FontExplorer X Pro 5.0 - Font management...
FontExplorer X Pro is optimized for professional use; it's the solution that gives you the power you need to manage all your fonts. Now you can more easily manage, activate and organize your... Read more

Heroki (Games)
Heroki 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $7.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: CLEAR THE SKIES FOR A NEW HERO!The peaceful sky village of Levantia is in danger! The dastardly Dr. N. Forchin and his accomplice,... | Read more »
Hands-On With Raceline CC
Set for release soon, Rebellion’s motorbike racing game, Raceline CC certainly looks stylish. But how does it play? I got my hands on a preview build to answer exactly that. | Read more »
Siegefall - Tips, Tricks, and Strategies...
So, you fancy establishing a base and ruling the world again. Siegefall is a convenient place to do that, but how about some great tips and tricks on how best to go about it? Here are a few ideas on how to get ahead as a beginner to this medieval... | Read more »
The WWE Comes to Racing Rivals - Because...
Racing Rivals is a racing game that's all about, well, rivalry. And who knows rivalry better than WWE superstars (shhhh, that was rhetorical)? [Read more] | Read more »
Hey, Who Put Apple Music in My SoundHoun...
One of the App Store's popular music discovery sources - SoundHound - has already been updated to include Apple's own music discovery source - Apple Music. That was fast! [Read more] | Read more »
Arcane Legends has a New Expansion Calle...
Arcane Legends has been going strong since it debuted at the tail end of 2012. So well, in fact, that it's already up to its sixth expansion. [Read more] | Read more »
Vector 2 is Officially a Thing and it...
Vector is a pretty cool parkour-driven runner that's gotten a pretty decent following since it first came out - although personally I think more people could stand to show it some love. Anyway, Nekki has announced that a sequel isofficially on its... | Read more »
Get Ready to Trucksform and Roll Out (an...
It looks like NuOxygen is bringing the truck-transforming racer Trucksform (get it?) to iOS in a couple of weeks. Although really it's more of an auto-driver than a racer. But still, transforming trucks! [Read more] | Read more »
This Week at 148Apps:June 22-26, 2015
June's Summer Journey Continues With 148Apps How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice,... | Read more »
LEGO® Minifigures Online (Games)
LEGO® Minifigures Online 1.0.1 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Logo Pop Free Vector Logo Design App For OS X...
128bit Technologies has released of Logo Pop Free 1.2 for Mac OS X, a vector based, full-fledged, logo design app available exclusively on the Mac App Store for the agreeable price of absolutely free... Read more
21-inch 1.4GHz iMac on sale for $999, save $1...
B&H Photo has new 21″ 1.4GHz iMac on sale for $999 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Best Buy has the 21″ 1.4GHz iMac on sale for $999.99 on their... Read more
16GB iPad mini 3 on sale for $339, save $60
B&H Photo has the 16GB iPad mini 3 WiFi on sale for $339 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $60 off MSRP. Read more
Save up to $40 on iPad Air 2, NY tax only, fr...
B&H Photo has iPad Air 2s on sale for up to $40 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 16GB iPad Air 2 WiFi: $489 $10 off - 64GB iPad Air 2 WiFi: $559 $40 off - 128GB iPad Air... Read more
Apple Releases OS X 10.10.4 With WIFi Fix, iO...
On Tuesday, Apple released final versions of OS X 10.10.4 and iOS 8.4, as well as updates for the Safari browser for OS X Yosemite, Mavericks, and Mountain Lion. The OS X 10.10.4 update focuses on... Read more
Dual-Band High-Gain Antennas for Home Wi-Fi N...
Linksys has announced what it claims are the first dual-band, omni-directional high-gain antennas for the consumer market. The new Linksys high-gain antennas available in a 2- and 4-pack (WRT004ANT... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 15-inch Retina MacBook...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pros available for $1609, $390 off original MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included, and shipping is free. They have... Read more
Clearance 2014 MacBook Airs available for up...
Adorama has 2014 MacBook Airs on sale for up to $301 off original MSRP including NY + NJ sales tax and free shipping: - 11″ 256GB MacBook Air: $798 $301 off original MSRP - 13″ 128GB MacBook Air: $... Read more
5K iMacs on sale for $100 off MSRP, free ship...
B&H Photo has the new 27″ 3.3GHz 5K iMac on sale for $1899.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. They have the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $2199, also $100... Read more
27-inch 3.2GHz iMac on sale for $1679, save $...
B&H Photo has the 27″ 3.2GHz iMac on sale for $1679.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $120 off MSRP. Read more

Jobs Board

Senior Payments Security Manager - *Apple*...
**Job Summary** Apple , Inc. is looking for a highly motivated, innovative and hands-on senior payments security manager to join the Apple Pay security team. You will Read more
Project Manager - *Apple* Pay Security - Ap...
**Job Summary** The Apple Pay Security team is seeking a highly organized, results-driven Project Manager to drive the development of Apple Pay Security. If you are Read more
Web Developer, *Apple* Online Store Innovat...
**Job Summary** The Apple Online Store Innovation Lab team is seeking a talented individual with strong web development and design skills to prototype future Apple Read more
*Apple* TV Live Streaming Frameworks Test En...
**Job Summary** Work and contribute towards the engineering of Apple 's state-of-the-art products involving video, audio, and graphics in Interactive Media Group (IMG) at Read more
Project Manager, WW *Apple* Fulfillment Ope...
…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.