September 9, 2010
iTunes 10 with Ping Review
Ping however, is all but useless.
The idea behind Ping is a social network for music. At first I thought I could get behind it. I guess I thought I’d be able to do normal social networking things…”Like” stuff on Facebook, share quickly and easily with friends through Twitter and other services, you know…Social network type stuff. But for several reasons, some more obvious than others, that’s not the case.
You sign up for Ping through iTunes 10. No other way. You can’t access it on your phone unless you’ve got an iPhone, and you can’t access it over the web. Now I love iTunes, but frankly, its a resource hog, particularly on Windows, and you really don’t want it running all the time. For most people, they start iTunes when they want to listen to music…If that. Lot’s of people use other applications or web services for listening, so where is their incentive to use Ping?
One thing I thought could be cool was the Follow feature, and the fact that you could follow your favorite artists to find stuff they’re in to. Of course though, this too hit a pretty major snag. There were, being generous, maybe 100 artists you could follow. I liked 5 or 6 of them, and frankly, was stretching with a couple of them. I wanted to jump on, follow Jay-Z, Jimmy Eat World, and Muse, and Muse, of all of the big bands I like, was the biggest I found. Oh and Linkin Park was on there. I like them too. Just not enough to make opening iTunes worth it though!
While Ping was supposed to be launched with Facebook support, which might have given it legs, they failed to make that happen. On top of the lack of cool, tight Facebook integration, it actually doesn’t work alongside any of the other social networks either. It might have taken off, in my opinion, had it launched and been all over people’s Facebook feeds the next day. But now, with the hype over, and Facebook support still not added in, the window of opportunity for Ping to be a major success is likely gone.
Ping was a cool, but poorly executed idea. What Apple should have done was waited a few months before announcing it, got another hundred (at least) artists set up to follow, and finalized plans with Facebook to have everything working in sync. What we’ve got now is an extra iTunes feature to slow down an already sluggish application, that after a few major revisions will probably end up removed. Don’t get me wrong, I like iTunes and its ecosystem, and I would love for Apple to prove me wrong with Ping, but in its current iteration, I just don’t see it happening.
Do you love Ping and think I’m dead wrong? Would you use it if it were better integrated, or do you use a different social network for music? (Heck, that’s basically what MySpace is these days.) Tell us in the comments!