iTunes Improves Ping Integration. Now Works Within Your Music Library.
The latest update of iTunes 10 was released earlier today. The update (iTunes 10.0.1) included many bug fixes, but most importantly, it improved the integration of Ping within iTunes. While this may be considered a small incremental update, it has huge implications and shows that Apple is in fact serious about Ping.
As you may remember, Ping was announced back on September 1st during Apple’s press event. It gathered quite a bit of discussion around the web, but quickly faded into the distance even with the 160 million potential Ping users. The problem with Ping was that it was too cumbersome. It also took too much effort to do the things you wanted to do; such as share or like a song or album. But that is no longer the case.
No longer do you need to hunt for an album or song through the iTunes Music Store to like it or share it, you can now do it straight from your music library. The Ping integration also makes it easier to find artists pages on Ping (if they exist). Apple also integrated a Ping sidebar into iTunes (similar to that of the Genius sidebar).
These are features that should have been there from the start and while they are available now is it too late? Ping still has a shot and these features will definitely help create awareness about Ping as well as increase the sharing and discovering aspects of Ping. Which, of course, is what Ping is all about. Because at the end of the day, the more new music you find, the more money you spend in iTunes.
The changes to the desktop side of Ping are welcome, I would like to see the the iOS version be brought up to the same standard, because right now it’s just “OK.” Additionally, you are only able to share and like songs/albums on Ping if they are available within the iTunes Music Store. This is somewhat of a bummer. While most of the stuff I listen to is available through the iTunes Music Store, it would be nice to share stuff that isn’t. For example, The Beatles.
I would also like to see the ability for iTunes to take our listening data such as play counts and integrate within Ping (at least make it an option), similar to the way Last.fm works, but you wouldn’t need any third-party plugins. Of course, this type of feature would also lead to other features such as musical compatibility and taste preferences that could be used to find people with similar musical taste as well as build a recommendation engine.
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