Introducing Ping – Apple’s Music Social Network

By Dan Hinckley

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Apple’s announcement today was a lot about the new hardware they were offering for this holiday season. Apple makes a killing every year over the Winter Holiday season as it seems there is nothing better than an iPod for a gift. They’ve refreshed their models and included an updated AppleTV designed to take advantage of the streaming capabilities and media recorded on your iPhones, iPods, and iPads.

But, Apple also announced an update to their popular iTunes applications. iTunes 10, which is now available for download from Apple’s website, is everything we’ve grown to love from iTunes with a new integrated social media service that Apple has named Ping.

How To Setup Ping in iTunes 10

Apple seems to have seen the popularity and success of social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook and realized that they must be able to make a similar service to help connect people around music. Facebook had tried, and failed a number of times, but their weakness maybe that users weren’t connected easily to their music library and tastes. Apple has a huge advantage in this area and figures they’ll capitalize on it.

At its core, Ping appears to be a social tool that will help us find music easier. Or in other words, it will help Apple sell more music through its store. I know that the way that I identify new music is by being introduced to it from friends and family. Rarely do I find myself quickly interested in music provided over the radio, but I always give chance to music my friends and family are listening to. Ping understands this and hopes to make it easier for me to see what those closest to me are interested in.

Setting up Ping is quick and easy. To Setup Apple’s Ping through iTunes:

  1. Download iTunes 10 and install it on your computer
  2. After installing you should see Ping under Store on your left navigation pane in iTunes 10.
  3. Select it to start the Ping Setup process. You should see a screen inviting you to Turn On Ping. Click the button to get started
  4. Ping-1.png
  5. After clicking the Turn On Ping button you’ll be asked to enter some information about yourself. Select a photo, which takes advantage of all the Photo Booth Effects on your mac. Take and select your picture to add it to your Ping profile.
  6. Buddy Picture - Ping.png
  7. Next, select your privacy settings and get ready to start enjoying connections to your favorite artists, friends, and family

After you’ve setup Ping you’ll be able to communicate with friends and family as well as connect with your Facebook Friends who have already setup their Ping accounts. It’ll be interesting to see how many iTunes users fill out and create Ping profiles. Apple faces the difficulty of keeping their social network alive, and to do so they’ll need active participants. Lucky for them, over 160 million people already have iTunes, so even if half the individuals create accounts they’ll be off to a great start.

Easy Music Purchases

Ping is the most significant update since the original release of iTunes in terms of enticing users to purchase more music. Genius and other recommendation services were their first efforts, but a computer is limited in its ability to convince someone to try a new song. If that same recommendation looks like its coming from a friend, then I’m a lot more likely to give it a shot. Apple understands this, and Ping is their way of keeping me interested in new music, and plenty of it.

With that in mind, you’ll see that many of the links on each Ping page is to a sample and test page where I can listen to a snippet of music and purchase it with one click. I can only imagine how many songs will sell in the coming months.

PIng-Purchase-Song.png

Ping Privacy Settings

It seems that Apple has been playing close attention to the privacy discussion on social network sites like Facebook. After Facebook faced significant backlash for their privacy settings, Apple is doing everything they can to avoid a similar difficult situation. Steve Jobs even stressed the simplicity of the privacy settings and configuration for the new iTunes feature. Apple learned with their iPhone Antenna issues that negative press needs to be taken seriously.

ping-Privacy-settings-1.png

Overall, the Ping privacy settings are simple to configure and understand. I expect that Apple will do its best to keep it this way. I want to connect with friends and family, but I want to know how I’m connecting with them and what I’m sharing.

Conclusion

Overall, iTunes 10 is a solid update. The verdict is still out on Ping but Apple has done an excellent job at making it quick and easy to create an account. If its this easy to share my music interests over the platform, then I’m sure only big things will come from Apple’s network. Especially if individuals are making purchases based on what they see through the network.

About Dan Hinckley
Dan Hinckley is an experienced Mac user who converted to Apple products when they introduced them on Intel Processors. He loves helping others get more out of their devices! Subscribe to Maciverse.com to get the latest from Dan and the Maciverse Team!! Find out more about Dan:

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