Unlike Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a public profile on Ping, the iTunes social network.
Zuckerberg likely wanted to see what the new social network on the block had to offer. The second person to leave a comment on Zuckerberg’s page told him all he needs to know: “nothing to worry about here… Ping kinda sucks.”
That’s the general sentiment around Ping. It kinda sucks.
What the biggest problem with Ping? It is fundamentally flawed because it doesn’t interact with your iTunes music collection. It only plays nice with the limited selection of music obtained through Apple’s store.
For instance, if we play Kanye West’s “Power” in our iTunes collection, none of our Ping friends know it. All they know is that we “liked” Power. But they only know that because we searched iTunes for “Power,” then “liked” it. A cumbersome process we only went through because Ping is new and novel.
Without the ability to actually to actually tell our friends what we’re listening to, Ping is a pretty useless service. Without the ability to listen to all our music through Ping, like we once did with Lala, the service is decidedly weak.
But here’s what we want to know: Is this Apple’s fault, or are the music labels stopping Apple from making Ping a better service?
Apple reportedly spoke with music labels about allowing users to upload their music collections to Apple’s servers, which would then stream to any device. Here’s CNet’s Greg Sandoval in January:
Apple executives have spoken to the top four recording companies about plans to offer a streaming music service free of charge to consumers, multiple music industry sources told CNET.
Apple’s managers haven’t revealed many details about their plans but did discuss offering iTunes users a means to store copies of their music libraries on Apple’s servers. The benefits to an iTunes user would include the ability to back up music and access songs off the Web from any Internet-connected device and conceivably from anywhere in the world.
The music labels subsequently shot down Apple’s plan, Sandoval reported.
When Ping first rolled out, we called it pretty good, with huge potential. We stand by that, even if we’re alone. We love the idea of Ping. We enjoy surfing Ping and seeing what people have liked.
But, if Apple is ever going to realise the potential of Ping, it has to do a better job negotiating with the labels.