Over the weekend, Apple released an update for iTunes (10.0.1). In addition to various bug fixes, Apple made a couple of changes to Ping that make the service a bit more usable.
Users can now “Like” or “Post” about any song in their iTunes music library that’s available for sale in the iTunes music store. There’s also a Ping sidebar on the right hand side of your music library that displays recent activity from your friends.
Apparently, tech pundits and bloggers are rejoicing that Ping is finally a viable music social network. TechCrunch’s MG Siegler declared Ping as “A Thousand Times Better.” CNN’s article headline read, “Let Us Now Praise Ping 10.0.1.”
I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware of the rule that making your product marginally usable by its intended audience deserves effluent praise. It’d be like heaping hallelujahs onto your new bank for finally allowing you to deposit money. Next thing you know, these guys are going to be sending gift baskets to Toyota for putting functional brakes in their cars now.
Dave Winer was a little more reserved in his praise, but still decreed that “Ping now is beginning to actually be a social network for music.”
Really? Well I guess that’s kinda true. Maybe like how Antoine Dodson is beginning to actually be a musician with his Gregory Brothers produced song.
Sure, these are improvements to the experience, but they should have been there at launch. Apple’s made some other improvements since launch, such as improving the spam filtering and adding back and forward navigation buttons for Ping – but again, these “upgrades” should have been in place from day one.
Apple’s made no improvements to Ping that warrant another look at the service as an useful music discovery tool. You still can’t listen to full songs that other people are talking about. You still can’t access Ping from a web browser. Hell, you still can’t even import your friends from Facebook or any other source yet.
I’d say call me when Apple starts remedying the ten issues I called to attention at launch, but you know what? Don’t even do that. Don’t mention anything about Ping to me again unless it demonstrably shows value equal to or greater than last.fm or Pandora as a tool for discovering and sharing music.