This week, Apple released Ping. It’s a music social network built into iTunes. Given the number of social networks out there, I knew plenty of people who wanted to know if it was even worth signing up for it and giving it a shot.
For those of you, I tried it out, and here are my thoughts.
What the heck is Ping, anyway?
Ping is a social network built into iTunes. You create a profile- show off 10 songs or albums that represent you, and let it show off the reviews you write on iTunes, the purchases you make, or even songs you like. You can follow friends and artists and comment on their updates. The artist profiles seem to integrate their Twitter accounts, but for everyone else- what shows up is based on how you use iTunes and the comments you leave.
Privacy and you
It asks you to use your name, but you can set your profile to three settings- public, private and leave me alone (well, that’s what I dubbed it). Essentially, you can have it so that everyone can see your actions, only those you approve can see your actions… or you can sorta play with Ping, but nobody can follow you.
Ping seems like it has a lot of potential. But because they’re only concerned with what you do in the iTunes store- purchases, rating, etc… there’s not much to do. I just rated my Scott Pilgrim vs The World soundtrack, but it doesn’t show up on Ping. Unless I go into the iTunes store itself and start making notations there- it won’t show up. (Equally annoying, when you set up your profile, it chooses 10 tracks from those you’ve purchased as representative of your taste. You can set them yourself, but be forewarned, it’ll only let you pick from tracks on iTunes. So as of right now, you can’t show that you’re the #1 Beatles fan)
But it does let you comment on your friend’s profiles- on items they’ve purchased, commenting on their reviews.
However, there is one BIG problem. All you need to do to play around on Bing is have an iTunes account. All you need to get an iTunes account is an email address and password, you don’t even have to click an authorization link. So as of right now? It’s a spammers paradise. On nearly every public artist, there are tons of links for winning free iPads or iPhone 4’s.
If you’re looking for some place to check in now and then and see what your friends are buying, it’s great. If you want to follow along artists (keep in mind, there aren’t a bunch of artist profiles yet), I’d wait. Not just because of the limited selection of artists- but because of the spam issue.
To sum up? Neat idea, but it seems like the execution wasn’t really thought through.