Apple’s Ping social network, which the company launched as part of the new iTunes 10, has drawn a big mix of excitement and criticism. While most seem to agree that the concept beind Ping is a pretty good idea (social network-meets-music-buying) it’s not exactly the seamless experience one might hope for.
Let’s take a look at some points made around the Blogosphere.
Erick Schonfeld at TechCrunch says, "The biggest problem I have with Ping is that it lives in iTunes. Not only does it live in iTunes, it is isolated there. iTunes is not social. It is not even on the Web. And Ping doesn’t communicate with any other social networks. I can’t see people’s iTunes Pings in Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere else. While Ping does make iTunes itself more social, the problem is that I don’t live in iTunes. It is a store. I go in to buy stuff and get out as fast as I can. I am not sure Ping is going to make me want to hang out there more."
WebProNews blog partner Bruce Houghton, who writes for the blog HypeBot, says, "Say what you will about iTune’s new social network Ping, but it’s going to be a great place to market music. So imagine the frustration of the many indie artists – many of who are selling music on iTunes – when they learned that there was no obvious way to create an an artist profile in Ping."
"We asked Apple to explain and just heard back from a spokesperson that ‘artist profiles were launched by invitation, but we’ll keep adding more and more.’ No information was provided on who is handing invites or what criteria they are using," he adds.
Mashable founder Pete Cashmore says in a CNN piece, "iTunes Ping is a worthy concept: By adding social interaction to the music-buying experience, Apple could see a significant increase in sales, and artists could form a more direct connection to their fans. But until the majority of artists are able to create official accounts, iTunes Ping merely benefits the privileged few."
Wade Roush at Xconomy has some interesting ideas about Ping: "It’s easy to see how Apple might expand Ping beyond music to facilitate conversations around media of all sorts, including movies, books, and mobile apps…Adding a social networking interface, on top of all of iTunes’ other functions, is like grafting another limb to the forehead of an octopus. It’s just too much."
Robert Scoble says, "By the way, if I were @loic I’d be PISSED that Apple infringed his ping.fm trademark." @loic, would be Loic Le Meur, founder of Seesmic, who also has a service called Ping.fm, for updating multiple social networks.
The best commentary I’ve seen about Ping so far has to be Paul Carr’s take though. He says, "Ping ping ping ping. Ping. And yet and yet…Ping?"
Apart from all of the opinions and criticism, Ping is already facing a more concrete problem of spam. Chester Wisniewski of security company Sophos has a post up describing the comment spam that’s already flooding the iTunes social network.
Google should be launching a music service in time for the holidays if reports are accurate.