Yesterday Apple announced a line of updated products along with the social network called Ping. The music network runs within Apple’s latest iTunes 10 version – also in iPhone and iPod Touch.
On Ping you can follow friends to see what music they like and what they post will appear in your feed, just like we already know from Facebook and Twitter. You can also follow artists to follow new releases, photos, videos, updates and uploads. Right now, the number of users and artists with a profile is limited, but I expect the network to grow rather big.
The potential of making something powerful is already there since Ping is an add-on to a programme already used by the millions of people already using iTunes. Then it’s real easy and fast to setup a Ping profile. However, even though the potential is definitely there, this is not a guarantee of success. Take for instance Google Wave whose potential hasn’t really struck.
It’s easy to be critical of this first attempt whether it is a matter of options and functionalities, navigation, design and so on. Having this said, I still think it’s a smart move of Apple to enter to social scene to diminish the competition from other music networks and sharing sites like Spotify, Myspace, Last.fm etc.
Furthermore, making iTunes a social experience will boost the possibilities of sales. When people can see what is popular among their friends, it will work as a recommendation and with just one click you can purchase the album or the song. This of course requires that people, both users and artists, will use Ping. Especially different artists benefit from having a presence there, as they will automatically be promoted by people who own their music.
Ping could probably need some improvements regarding sharing options and the posibility for private profiles to make updates and share music as well. But I will still check Ping out to see if I can find my friends and get inspired by their favourite music.