Apple seems to relish the role of David against Goliath. First, it was IBM. Then it was Microsoft. Along came Google as nemesis.
Apple as David is poised to throw a few rocks at Facebook and Twitter. Facebook, with over 500-million users is social networking personified. Twitter, with tens of millions of users is growing rapidly. It’s friending vs. following. Apple’s Ping, the social networking component of iTunes, does a little of both.
Ping Throws Rocks
With iTunes 10 Apple introduced a Cupertino flavored version of social networking in Ping. Sign up for Ping, create a profile (Ping selects music for you), then select from suggested artists to follow.
Ah, the early days of anything social. Nobody’s around to follow. Yet.
All those artists I’d like to follow are not exactly participating in Apple’s Ping. Yet. I found plenty of indie artists, but they’re not exactly representative of The Greatest Hits era, and that’s what I buy in iTunes.
Ping users can send invitations to others to follow but unlike Twitter or Facebook you don’t get a notification that someone’s on board. Why doesn’t Ping just integrate with Facebook and tweet whenever you buy or follow or do something in iTunes?
Apparently, Facebook and Apple can’t get along, so Apple is going it alone. Again. Apple is David. Everyone else is some kind of Goliath.
Ping: Doing Less With More
Getting started with Ping is easy enough. Fire up iTunes, click on the icon to turn on Ping, fill out a profile, choose from three recording genres, and you’re nearly ready to go.
Ping asks you how you’d like to display your music on your profile. Automatic, manually, or don’t. Privacy settings are simple. Allow anyone to follow (or, require your approval), or don’t allow people to follow.
Facebook should have privacy so simple.
The Ping Welcome screen gets you started. For me, the section Artists We Recommend You Follow included Lady GaGa, Jack Johnson, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Coldplay, and U2.
What? No Billy Joel? No Garth Brooks? No Bee Gees or Stones?
Ping to Houston: “We have a problem.”
Ping recommended that I follow Alexandra Patsavas, Jason Bentley, and Rick Rubin. Those must have been the first three people in the world to sign up for Ping. I would be number four.
So, I set out on a David-like search for iTunes Jonathans (friends). Most of my search efforts resulted in Your Search Had No Results. Ping needs a little more time in the oven. When you follow in Twitter you get to see the other persons tweets. When you friend in Facebook you create a two-way relationship. They see me. I see them. With Ping it’s more like David phoning it in to Goliath than it is slingshotting some wicked, head-banging stones.
Clicking the My Reviews buttons popped up the lone App Store review I did a year ago, so now I have to come up with a few phrases of comical insight on the latest Linda Ronstadt album (after I find it.
Apple claims iTunes has over 160-million users, so it’s likely that Ping, available in iTunes for Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, will gather a few million users to friend and follow in the next few months.
Facebook and Twitter have nothing to worry about.