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Ping Could Be Apple's Social Networking Backdoor? 271

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-don't-think-it's-a-secret dept.
rsmiller510 writes "Could Apple's announcement about Ping, a music-based social network be Apple's social networking trojan horse? Facebook might want to be concerned." Of course it is. Update: 09/02 19:26 GMT by T : Jamie points out this post on Daring Fireball, according to which Steve Jobs blames the non-integration on "onerous terms" suggested by Facebook.
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Ping Could Be Apple's Social Networking Backdoor?

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  • by line-bundle (235965) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:40AM (#33450192) Homepage Journal

    I wrote not too long ago that Ping is Facebook's killer, much like the iPod (Touch) was a backdoor to the game market.

    http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1773738&cid=33438624 [slashdot.org]

    And they laughed at me.

    Please mod me insightful this time.

  • Eh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:40AM (#33450204) Homepage

    I'm just waiting to hear borked adoption rate numbers...it is integrated into iTunes 10, after all. Internet Explorer & Windows, anyone?

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:41AM (#33450210) Journal
    Because when I look for a portal to Ping [apple.com] it seems they want me to download and install iTunes. Unless they intend to eventually make it accessible through a browser, I could see this being a bit of a problem for more than a few people. Great, you've got my credit card number if I bought something through iTMS but do you really think I'm going to wake up that memory and resource hog on my Windows partition just to get to a social networking site when I can hit Facebook through Linux or (nearly) any mobile device? I might be a small minority but that's not for me.

    Looks to be just more bloat on an already bloated piece of software. The least they could do is modularize iTunes so that if I click a box on install I can make it so that the application is just a way to put music onto an iPod. I am sick and tired of the video and TV stuff forcing me to put Quicktime on my machine!
  • by theonlyholle (720311) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:45AM (#33450316) Homepage
    The problem is that all it is is a social shopping network. And of course it's a "social shopping at the iTunes store" network, so it's very, very limited. I personally think that Apple narrowed the scope of their network too much (you can't even post a link to a live video on YouTube of a song you just bought - or rather, you can but it will show up as text only with no way to click or copy&paste it) and most users will be bored by it very quickly and just ignore it. Even if Apple expands it later, a reputation once ruined is hard to improve...
  • by broKenfoLd (755627) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:49AM (#33450424)
    I thought we had learned our lessons in declaring X the Y Killer. Sure, its happened every now and then(see Myspace/Facebook, HDDVD/Bluray), but as everyone here knows (and many lament about), Microsoft is still alive and well despite a resurgence by Apple, iPhones are still selling despite the allegedly-killer swarm of Android devices, websites still get hits despite content being routed more and more into apps, etc.
  • Last.fm anyone? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MareLooke (1003332) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:53AM (#33450500) Homepage

    Why would I want to use this over Last.fm [www.last.fm] which doesn't lock me into an application, is accessible from my webbrowser and has plugins for about every media player around?

    It arguably doesn't provide competition to Facebook aiming at a different audience altogether, but to me, judging from the article, it seems to be swimming in much the same waters as Apple's Ping.

  • Re:Eh... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Haffner (1349071) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:55AM (#33450556)
    In the same way that Apple NEVER tries to force other software on iTunes users, like, say, Safari or Quicktime? You don't have to install it. But you can't get the next version of iTunes that has *shiny new feature* without installing it. It's optional for this version only, it'll be mandatory next time.
  • Re:Last.fm anyone? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by theonlyholle (720311) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:56AM (#33450568) Homepage
    for the same reason that people use Internet Explorer - because it comes bundled and you don't have to deal with downloading extra software, setting up an account etc. Not because it's better, more secure or offers anything new - ease of use seems to be a lot more important than all of that.
  • by Haffner (1349071) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @10:58AM (#33450632)
    I think Apple's major mistake is tying EVERYTHING to iTunes. Honestly, iTunes integration tends to be one of the things they do worst. I have a core i7 with 8GB RAM on a win7 machine and iTunes STILL lags, is unresponsive, and even display details get cropped (and can't be fixed). Syncing for iDevices is so bad that I only sync my iPhone (great device other than the iTunes element, imo) every 2-3 months or so, because I hate the sync process so much.
  • by forand (530402) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @11:01AM (#33450700) Homepage
    Ping is only available in the iTunes Store proper, so you cannot 'like' a song, artist or album unless you are browsing the store. I don't have loads of time in the day to browse the store to build up likes for all the things I currently own, so whatever they get is only going to be based on newly purchased items. That may be good for their marketing team but it is lame as a social space.
  • by Posting=!Working (197779) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @11:03AM (#33450748)

    iTunes might have 160 million users, but that doesn't mean they are ever going to use Ping. According to this logic, Google kicked facebook's ass with Buzz. There's a facebook app on all the iProducts. Every computer that can run iTunes has a browser that can access facebook. I open iTunes to rip a CD or listen to music, not connect with the rest of the world. I use my web browser for that. There's no compelling reason to switch. They'll get a bunch to sign up for Ping to see the "exclusive photos" and never use any other part of it.

    "Jack Johnson had displayed from his latest tour and an exclusive video Lady Gaga made for her fans. This kind of direct access to artists is more powerful than Facebook Fan pages" ....unless the artist just posts the pictures and video to facebook. Comparing it to a facebook page run by a fan is just stupid. Bands are free to post whatever they want on facebook under their own page. Apple isn't offering anything new here, "exclusive content" is the AOL path to success.

    Many people went to facebook because their friends are on facebook. There is not going to be a mass exodus from facebook to Ping, there isn't any reason to switch.

  • I wonder.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h2okies (1203490) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @11:06AM (#33450790)

    c:\>ping www.apple.com

    Pinging www.apple.com [96.16.93.15] with 32 bytes
    Request timed out. No Linux client
    Request timed out. No mobile client
    Request timed out. No universal browser access
    Request timed out. Forced use of 80MB client software

    Ping statistics for 96.16.93.15:
            Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 0, Lost = 4 (100% fail)

    yeah thats what i thought...

  • by poetmatt (793785) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @11:08AM (#33450836) Journal

    please, the worst mistake to make in a market is assuming the next big product is going to kill it off.

    It'd be more accurate that saying ping is apple's attempt to compete with facebook, because the details of how ping will actually work matter a lot more than just "We made our own social platform".

  • by czmax (939486) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @11:09AM (#33450864)

    Not to worry ... I'm sure iTunes will automatically 'like' songs based on what you listen to on your home machine. You needn't lift a finger to be an active member of ping. Oddly they could be creating a fully automated social networking site - no direct user involvement needed.

  • by Tharsman (1364603) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @11:10AM (#33450878)

    Because when I look for a portal to Ping [apple.com] it seems they want me to download and install iTunes. Unless they intend to eventually make it accessible through a browser, I could see this being a bit of a problem for more than a few people. Great, you've got my credit card number if I bought something through iTMS but do you really think I'm going to wake up that memory and resource hog on my Windows partition just to get to a social networking site when I can hit Facebook through Linux or (nearly) any mobile device? I might be a small minority but that's not for me. Looks to be just more bloat on an already bloated piece of software. The least they could do is modularize iTunes so that if I click a box on install I can make it so that the application is just a way to put music onto an iPod. I am sick and tired of the video and TV stuff forcing me to put Quicktime on my machine!

    You miss the point of this, well the entire article did. Ping is not there primarily to become a Facebook competitor or alternative. It's there to help highlight music sales. It's there to tell you what music your friends like, and what music your favorite artists like. Artists may treat it as a social page only to advertise their products, just as they do now in Facebook.

    As far as Apple's goals are concerned, they don't care you using the tool if you are not going to be buying music. Note it does not only require you to have iTunes installed, it also requires you to have an iTunes Store account (even if it has no credit card attached.) It's all about selling.

    In a way i sort of wish they extended it's functionality for app developers and book authors too.

  • by riegel (980896) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @11:28AM (#33451228) Homepage
    Mostly agreed, except on the bonjour point. You really ought to learn about what it is and what it does.
  • Off by default (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fotbr (855184) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @11:41AM (#33451490) Journal

    At least apple has this part right, for now.

  • by countertrolling (1585477) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @11:55AM (#33451800) Journal

    The "privacy" options are there to protect you from your friends, not the company or advertisers

  • by Hijacked Public (999535) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @12:03PM (#33451960)

    I don't think that is unfortunate for Apple, and I doubt Apple does either. It always happens with new Apple products that Slashdot lists out the people who won't or can't buy them.

    Apple clearly does not care about certain parts of the market.

    Someone above called Ping a social shopping network. That is what it is. It is the logical extension of the product 'reviews' already in itunes, half of which are reviews of previous reviews and people trying to engage in arguments. Move all that crap into a social network format so people can have product recommendations delivered to them in some sort of wall format.

    So people who don't own computers and go to the library to use the internet probably aren't people Apple cares about. Apple has no desire to operate in the long tail. They want comfortable margins and the economies that come along with having a narrow range of physical products that can act as portals to their digital store. No doubt they'd love their products in the hands of every person on the planet, but they aren't going to sacrifice their margins to make that happen.

  • iTunes fee based? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hellfire (86129) <deviladv.gmail@com> on Thursday September 02, 2010 @12:07PM (#33452052) Homepage

    It is likely that most of the social networking stuff with apple will be tied to me.com or iTunes. Both of these are fee based services

    iTunes is not fee based. Everything, including Ping is free until you download something, like a song or a game. Facebook has something to be worried about. Facebook's revenue stream is eyeballs on ads and if people spend more time in Ping, Facebook is losing.

    Since Ping is free, the rest of your discussion doesn't make any sense. What Apple is doing is basically creating a social network, for free, to encourage sales of music through the iTunes store. Apple's vision for the longest time has been to continue to come up with more tools that encourage you to buy content. We used to think of the iTunes music store as a vehicle to drive hardware sales. It once was, but it's so big now in terms of volume I don't believe that any more. They are trying to get people to buy content so that they make money, pure and simple.

  • by arth1 (260657) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @12:33PM (#33452580) Homepage Journal

    And 275 billion flies can't be wrong either: eat shit.

    Argumentum ad populum should never be taken as a serious argument; the chance of someone being a victim of hype and groupthink is proportional to how strongly he defends his choices.

  • by perpenso (1613749) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @01:05PM (#33453290)

    Anyway "ping" already has some well established (and very specific) meaning in the computer world. I'm surprised Apple would choose that specific word for their newest gimmick. Especially since it is already loaded with such uncool, geeky history.

    "Ping" has an established meaning among a very small segment of computer users. A group that is quite capable of recognizing social networking use versus networking diagnostic use. Trademarks are assigned in specific product/service classes and social networking and computer system administration are probably sufficiently distant. For example "facebook" had to be trademarked in multiple service classes: entertainment services, technological services, social services, ... FWIW "ping" is trademarked in various computer networking and service contexts and these marks are unrelated to the unix command.

    Among the general population "ping" may be understood to mean getting someone's attention but if asked where the word came from you are probably more likely to get a reference to submarines and sonar than the unix utility. Wiki is merely an example of written by techies for techies, a convenient place to look up technical details. Non-technical use of "ping" does not need a reference page hence the wiki bias. Given the widely accepted definition of getting someone's attention Apple did a pretty good job at naming this feature.

  • by rwven (663186) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @01:15PM (#33453512)

    Yeah if they shove any more crap into iTunes, they're going to have to rebrand it as iTunesOS...

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