As we reported in the middle of September, Ping was scheduled to be shut down on September 30. For those few users that found some value in the social service, you may have realized that Ping is now nowhere to be found on iTunes. As promised, Apple has finally killed off its iTunes social network service.
According to TIm Cook, the service never took off as iTunes users felt that it never added a value proposition when many were already on Facebook and Twitter. Cook has explained that Apple “tried Ping and the customer voted, and we said, this isn’t something I want to put a lot of energy into. Some customers love it, but there’s not a huge number that do.” At the time, Cook was deciding what to do with Ping, and his statement merely hinted at the service being axed.
You’ll notice that playlists from Ping have been transferred to iMixes.
But in the next week or two, when iTunes is updated to iTunes 11 – iTunes 10 was launched back in 2010 – you’ll see a Ping alternative. What will be included in the release is the Facebook integration that was publicized after Mark Zuckerberg announced the partnership on stage after the iPhone 5 keynote. When the update rolls around iTunes users will be able to “Like” and “Share” music, apps, books, and podcasts, which will be displayed on iTunes as tiles showcasing the content’s image art. And all content that’s shared will then show up on your Facebook Timeline and friend’s newsfeed. It will look similar to the Spotify integration, where you can see your friends’ activity via the ticker and on their profiles.
It’s an obvious step forward for Apple, and an improved strategy that will benefit developers who are looking to get their apps noticed in an ecosystem that actually has a robust network of users. Ping, which never really hit mainstream usage and was more mocked than anything else, is clearly a worthy sacrifice.