In my previous article I discussed the improvements that Ping needs to make, in order have any chance of being adopted by fans of music and social networks. Fans of Apple also know that they never, ever, release something new, be it hardware or software ,with everything included from the get go. They like to test features and work out potentially difficult user interface problems before rolling them out to the Apple user. So, below I’ve made a list of features that seem logical and have a fair chance of being rolled out to Ping in the coming weeks, months, and years.
Rating Five Stars = Like
Rating a song five stars while in the list view of iTunes results in an automatic “Like” rating of the song on your Ping profile. Rating more than five songs from an album might also result in a “Like” of a whole album. It seems weird that we are rating albums and songs twice now.
One Complete Stream of A Song Per Customer
In order to facilitate the purchase of a song, I expect that iTunes will implement a Lala feature that would allow a Ping user to stream a song one time, in its entirety, for evaluation purposes. This would make the recommendations by friends even more valuable because it would allow iTunes listeners to discover different music than they might have otherwise, and it also adds a deeper level of interactivity among the Ping community, thus making the network that much more likely to actually sell songs and albums.
Easier Setup of Profiles For Spouses and Families
A common complaint I heard about setting up a profile on Ping was whether or not spouses and children who use listen to and enjoy content from the primary iTunes account would be able to easily setup their own profiles on Ping without use of a credit card. The answer is, you do not need to have a credit card to setup an account on Ping. Simply access your content from the primary credit holder using the Home Network feature, and create your own profile on Ping. This will allow you to hang with your friends without worrying about your likes and dislikes being confused with your wife or children. This also limits the potential for a child to really go to town with purchases on your credit card.
Featured Artist Profiles for the Indie Bands and Musicians
Featured Artist profiles will eventually be opened up to other bands listed on iTunes through their respective labels or trusts. Many of the bands on indie labels at CDBaby for example benefit from iTunes and would love the opportunity to foster a closer relationship with their fans directly inside iTunes.
Friends Can Reserve and Purchase Tickets Together
Ping users can currently purchase tickets from Ticketmaster of artists they follow through the network. I can imagine a time when we will also be able to poll friends for interest in a show, reserve tickets near one another, and purchase them all from within Ping.
Tagging for Users, to Compile Show Experiences
After attending the show using the feature above, it would be nice if fans could then upload their photos and videos to the artists page, in particular to the show in which they all went by allowing users a tagging system for organizing such data. Perhaps artists could select whether they prefer fans doing so. Until then, it will remain the providence of Facebook and YouTube.
Expanding From Music to Podcasts, Apps, TV Shows, Movies, and Books
The limited scope of Ping to music makes sense for now. Music was the first and primary use of iTunes, and it gives them a chance to work out the bugs inherent in a new venture such as a social network, but can you imagine how useful it would be when you are able to track your friends favorite podcasts, apps, tv shows, movies, and books? For example, I use GoodReads a great deal for discovering books that are beloved by people who have similar interests as I do. I would love to know which things interest the very people that I have a great deal of other things in common with.
What features do you see Apple rolling out in the distant future for Ping? Do you see them ever making APIs for web users to interact with the data in a variety of plug-ins and sites? Or do you see them maintaining the Facebook-like walled garden that they have to this point?