Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Personally, I have not signed up the Ping service that is included in iTunes 10. My main reason for avoiding it is the fact that Apple requires you to use your real, full name for registration.

What are your opinions of the service?

  • pros/cons
  • privacy or security concerns?
  • things you wish they had done/not done
  • things you'd like to see added
  • things you'd like to see removed

*note: this question is serious but also meant as a sort of experiment to see if a discussion question can be useful or relevant on the site. if you hate it or don't want any sort of discussion other than the occasional list question, vote to close but please post a comment explaining your reasoning

share|improve this question
I think Apple want do the same thing that did. – Am1rr3zA Dec 10 '10 at 18:48
Yeah, + Twitter + Facebook "Likes". – msanford Dec 10 '10 at 19:35
@Calavera instead of question, can we make this as wiki ? Personally I don't see anything odd being a Question. – garikapati Dec 10 '10 at 19:40
@garikapati: I actually intended this as a wiki question. But if you check my post on Meta, the powers-that-be removed the option to make a question community wiki except moderators. – Robert S Ciaccio Dec 10 '10 at 22:49
@Calavera that's just my opinion, anything works for me ;-) Anyways, I don't see much use of using Ping, Facebook + Twitter works me and most of the people, I guess. – garikapati Dec 11 '10 at 0:14

Primarily, I don't understand the purpose. I don't know a single person in the world whose musical taste I trust, or that I think is similar to mine. I've seen, facebook, twitter, etc., and they've taught me to ignore musical recommendations.

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a New Yorker article about how social network links have so little value because they're so easy. I might get 50 musical recommendations on facebook this week, and I'd only have to click twice to listen, and I'm not going to listen to any of them. But when the guy who lives next door hears me listening to Brahms, and stops in and says "You might like this other thing too!", and brings me a CD, I'll put it in my stereo and listen to it 2 or 3 times.

Second, the interesting music I'd want to share is largely not on iTunes. It's the bootleg of some Asian singer whose recording you can't get here yet (and maybe never). It's the Youtube video of some guy you kind of know playing at a club downtown last week. It's the out-of-print-for-40-years LP on my shelf of an incredible and rare recording of a popular group, that I got at a garage sale once for $4. It's the MP3 preview that some up-and-coming composer dropped on his blog to show you what he's doing.

Like everything Apple seems to do these days, Ping is probably great if you only care about recent mainstream name-brand consumer goods. (Lady Gaga at the announcement!) From a couple of longhairs who started out selling devices to let you make phone calls without paying, Apple has really turned into a company that doesn't care for the fringe -- even the legal fringe.

Third, it's part of iTunes. Back in 2003, I thought iTunes was awesome. These days, it's got so much crap in it, I don't even know how to do all the things I used to know how to do. It's confusing and frustrating and I use it as little as possible -- only for feeding my iPod, for things that can't be loaded directly. (iPods have gotten a lot more complex and confusing since 2003, too, but there's pretty much no competition in this space.) So Ping would have to be pretty awesome for me to want to use iTunes more than once every couple weeks, and it's not.

So if I wanted to do something that I don't, but can do already in better ways, but now do it in an app I hate instead of on the web ... I guess Ping would be for me.

You know what would be a better thing to put in iTunes, since apparently it's no longer just about "tunes"? Recipes! I need to keep track of them somewhere, and iTunes might be better than a bunch of text files. Plus, I actually do trust food recommendations from friends, so Ping-for-Recipes would actually be worth something to me.

share|improve this answer
Yeah, iTunes is a synch tool. – Thomas L Holaday Dec 12 '10 at 21:34
+1... great answer. maybe they could also change the name to iRecipes. – Robert S Ciaccio Dec 12 '10 at 22:18

Weird question, but… a user with a name calavera (which we still don’t know if it comes from Skull in spanish or Sepultura’s brothers) and the Xcode icon on its profile, what can you expect… ;)

calavera as in Manny Calavera, the travel agent and grim reaper :) --calavera

In any case, here’s what happened with Ping and I.

  1. New iTunes. Oh ping, what’s that?
  2. 10 minutes investigating, registering, etc.
  3. A few days later. Nobody had it. There was nothing (other than 3-4 authors)
  4. Found a way to disable it.
  5. New iTunes update. Native disabling.
  6. Disabled it all. Removed my ping account.

How could it be better?

I’m not sure, maybe if it was Facebook instead. People already has facebook, nobody wants another social network. Facebook+Twitter is enough for 99%.

I want to tell my friends (or group of friends): Hey, listen to this, it’s cool, you’ll like it.

I want to be able to see what they have found…

For everything else, there’s Mastercard.

share|improve this answer
Agreed, we gain nothing being a Ping member, Facebook + Twitter works for me. That's the reason I didn't even enabled in my iTunes. – garikapati Dec 10 '10 at 19:42
Agreed, though on the grounds that I don't use either Facebook or Twitter, so the value of Ping is completely lost on me. – Philip Regan Dec 11 '10 at 11:37
@calavera In that case, then it does come from Skull, as Grim Fandango was very mexicanish styled :) and Manny Calavera (whose name I had completely forgotten) has… well… a skull’s mask of some sort :) – Martín Marconcini Dec 13 '10 at 0:58

One day the RIAA will reach for your music through ITunes. Spotlight will tell them where it is on your drive, Ping will tell them what. You think that people who are setting up the equivalent of S.P.E.C.T.R.E won't wait until the political or economic situation of Apple, the leading music player manufacturer, will allow them to purchase, or negotiate a time time to attack "filesharers" in that fashion?

That being said, it's a good idea in principle: People who share my music taste to a high degree, are almost always people I can get along with. But share my mp3 list with Apple's backend? Perhaps not. is ok, or SomaFM for variety. I don't need to be a data source any more than I am.

share|improve this answer
I love you @chiggsy. you're just as paranoid as I am :) – Robert S Ciaccio Dec 12 '10 at 6:50
It's only paranoia if they are not actually out to get you ;) – chiggsy Dec 14 '10 at 4:23
@calavera and here we go:… – chiggsy Feb 18 '11 at 23:48

Ping does not let me like music unless it is in iTunes, which sharply limits its value as a discovery tool.

share|improve this answer

Remove: ping

Add: Facebook

Instead of trying to create a new social network (which people are quite reluctant to change) they should have partnered with Facebook. Or at least tied into Facebook so that you could find friends using Facebook.

share|improve this answer
ugh... that's the last thing I want - facebook invading something else that i use on a regular basis. – Robert S Ciaccio Dec 12 '10 at 12:11
Obviously opt out like ping. If you're not embracing face book and it's expansion then you're like one of this anti competitive freaks and you'll just get left behind making hand prints on cave walls. Let me guess you dont like google street view either :) – Jonathan. Dec 12 '10 at 12:20
actually i love google street view :) facebook however is pushing our world right towards a george orwell nightmare. but i don't think it will be a problem much longer. someone is going to come along and kick the crap out of facebook much like they did to myspace. – Robert S Ciaccio Dec 12 '10 at 13:47
Jonathan: As long as these cave walls don't have Farmville and Mafiawars, that sounds like a dramatic improvement. – Ken Dec 13 '10 at 16:51

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.