Today Apple launched Ping. You can get the full story on ClickZ who covered the announcement. Were you expecting apple to launch a music social network today?
Discussing the implications of Apple launching a social network with Zach Rodgers and Jack Marshall around the watercooler, they both noted that the service uses "vocabulary ("follow," "like," and "status update") popularized by social sites such as Facebook and Twitter" and urged me to checkout the Ping product page.
Looking at the page you can see that there is indeed a lot of features that search and social media marketers will no doubt be familiar with. I have annotated the screenshots below, but you can click them to expand. What's extremely interesting is that unlike every other social network out there, Apple have launched with a monetization strategy at the heart of it.
Trading on Apple Assets
Points of Interest
Ping is a music centric social network, but music is what everyone wants to share - it crosses cultural barriers in a unique way. If pictures paint a thousand words, what does music do?
- Reports are coming in that Ping will kill MySpace stone dead. Although, arguably MySpace is already on it's last legs, MySpace enables a lot of free sharing of music. The question is, will monetization at the heart of Ping help or hinder it - what do you think?
- Social shopping is clearly a feature of the Ping lifestreams. Personally, I do buy based on friends 'explicit' recommendations. Will implicit recommendations via their buying behavior be attractive too. However, how long will it be before users will want to mute those kind of status updates? OR will this do for up and coming artists what MySpace did for the Arctic Monkeys?
- YouTube have enabled buying songs via iTunes in video overlays for awhile - have you bought a song that way? If so, you may be able to answer the question above.
- Celebrity profiles is something Apple has a massive strategic advantage over Google, Facebook and even Twitter. Will Apple start to use the 'verified account' label? Or is there a deal with Twitter, where they are pulling Twitter feeds as status updates via Twitter's verified accounts? It looks like the latter - as we can see replication of Lady Gaga's Twitter Status in her Ping profile.
- Does that mean we are seeing Apple tentatively embrace openness? There seems to be a Facebook integration too. Are they strategically aligning themselves with powerhouses like Twitter and Facebook against Google?
- This is the first browser/app based (iTunes is effectively a browser) social network. Does this foreshadow a future for social networks? Will Google Me be a 'Chrome-only' social network? The advantages seem obvious - billing and distribution are baked in automatically.
- Is the race for a browser based social network actually a race for the socializing of TV?
For your consideration! Please join me for a discussion in the comments.