Steve Jobs pitched Apple’s new social network, Ping, as “Facebook and Twitter Meet Itunes”.
Except…..as far as I can tell, they in fact don’t ever meet. You can’t leverage your networks on Facebook and Twitter in Ping. It’s another closed Apple system, another Apple universe in a gilded gift box.
It’s not that Apple hates the web, it’s just that Apple is better than the web. Apple doesn’t need it. It seems Apple has it all figured out.
I am sure Ping will get traction because it’ll be fun, and if it truly helps folks discover more music, so much the better for all (especially iTunes sales).
But I’ve a sneaking suspicion that Ping will soon be about more than discovering music — it will also be about discovering Apps and other media like movies and TV. And while paid media is a sanitised and bounded universe, it’s my fervent hope that Apps, over time, will not be — that they will be far more promiscuous. Breathless predictions aside, I simply can’t imagine you will want your Apps to be recommended to you only by your Ping “friends.” Likewise, when you find something cool, you’ll want to share it on Twitter, and post it to Facebook (and maybe even other places too, places that are outside AppleLand.)
You’ve invested in your Facebook and Twitter relationships, why can’t you use those to find and share good stuff inside AppleLand?
I hope Apple agrees, and will open Ping to the rest of the world. But I’m not going to predict it. I can predict this: If Apple doesn’t open it up, Ping will never crack more than 10% of social networking share. But my, will that share be profitable! And for Apple, that’s certainly seems to be enough.
UPDATE: Peter in the comments notes that Ping does have a “very limited” Facebook Connect integration. So good on them, but if it’s just to find friends to feed your Ping network, I’ll stand by my comments above.
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