NPR Names Apple's Ping a 'Worst Idea of 2010'

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NPR is a fairly staid and risk-averse media organization (especially when it comes to issuing opinions). So when it does take a stance on something, it's kind of big deal. This week, the network published its list of "Worst Ideas of 2010"--a compendium of concepts and ideas that utterly failed this year. Taking the top spot was Ping, the "social network for music" launched by Apple. When it was introduced in September, there was a lot of excitement over Ping. "[It] sounds like a pretty great idea," said Slate's technology editor Farhad Manjoo. "Ping=Goodbye, MySpace!" predicted All Things Digital's Kara Swisher.  But after its botched integration with Facebook and a series of late-to-the-game software updates, Ping is looking more and more like a flop. NPR's Latoya Peterson explains why:

Why Ping is floundering can be summed up in a sentence: Apple doesn't like sharing, thus, it is difficult for them to build a social network. The most popular services--the Facebooks, Twitters and MySpaces of the world--allow users to share links, thoughts, ideas, photos and music to connect with each other. Ping, run through iTunes, was supposed to be an evolution in musical connection. But iTunes, being a self-contained fortress requiring endless software upgrades and with more than a few frustrating quirks, isn't conducive to the type of sharing Web-based networks enjoy across a variety of devices. I can access all three of the aforementioned sites from my Android phone, and I have a variety of apps that allow me to seamlessly integrate these applications into my life. To use Ping, I would have to be tethered to my iMac...

Apple crashed in, deciding that people need what is essentially a glorified purchasing guide as opposed to a space to share music.

Let it be known: NPR is none too keen on Ping.

It's worth noting, though, that, by and large, the tech community is nodding its head. "I can't say I disagree with them," said Tim Barribeau at iEverything Cafe. "Ping is a failure by just about every possible metric, with slow adoption by users, difficulty in finding friends, artist accounts which are only used to shill gigs and music, iTunes only interface, and general misery." Frederic Lardinois at News Grange, adds "For something that bills itself as a 'social network for music,' Ping just isn’t social enough." Finally, Stephen Hacket at Macgasm writes, "Following bands is cool, but seeing what your buddy bought on the iTunes Store just… isn't."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.