17 Comments

Summary:

At one time, Apple and Facebook were best friends forever. It was rumored that Facebook would form the underpinning of what is now Ping. No more — apparently the two companies are not working on Ping together, and consumers are the ones who pay the price.

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This morning when I woke-up, I found a huge brouhaha around Ping and Facebook. Apparently, these two aren’t BFFs anymore. There was some talk earlier that Facebook and Apple were working closely on a version of Ping. It was rumored that Facebook would provide the social layer to power the next generation iTunes experience.

Well, those rumors proved to be baseless. Apple decided to go with its iTunes membership as a way to jump-start its music social network. Yesterday, Steve Jobs told Kara Swisher there were issues between the two companies.

And Facebook is nowhere on Ping too. Currently, there is no linking, sharing or participation of any kind with Facebook–or Twitter or MySpace either–on Ping, which will work only on the iTunes software on computers, iPhones and iPods. When I asked Jobs about that, he said Apple had indeed held talks with Facebook about a variety of unspecified partnerships related to Ping, but the discussions had gone nowhere. The reason, according to Jobs: Facebook wanted “onerous terms that we could not agree to.”

Jobs did not elaborate on those troublesome terms and also would not say if Ping would incorporate Facebook Connect–which would make it much easier to find friends to share music with.“We could, I guess,” he shrugged. (AllThingsD).

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I’m assuming this is about a bigger deal between the two companies and not just the problems many (including me) have observed with Ping and Facebook Connect. Last night before going to sleep, I downloaded iTunes 10 and set up my Ping account (more on that later.) As part of the set-up, I signed up with Facebook Connect so I could find my social graph, ready to recommend songs.

I wonder what happened last night — metaphorically speaking — of course! I woke up this morning, and expected to see Ping activity in my Facebook account, and well let’s just say, nothing is going on. The funny thing is, my Ping is still connected to Facebook Connect, though none of my actions are being sent to Facebook. There are no updates, no mention of artists I am following and absolutely nothing on the app’s wall. I see that I have 26 Facebook friends who are on Ping, but on Ping I find only one of those 26. The emptiness of the Ping’s application on Facebook is sort of like the stuff you leave behind when you break-up with someone and move out of their life.

I’m hoping that the Facebook Connect problems are temporary and a glitch. Otherwise, Ping would really suck and the big losers in this game of corporate one-upmanship are the consumers, who probably — like me–  just want recommendations from our friends, then buy those tunes. As a long-time customer of Apple and its iTunes store, I’m severely disappointed that I can’t bring my pre-configured social graph to Ping. I hope Apple and Facebook both come to an agreement and kiss and make-up.

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  1. Couldn’t agree more. Massive fail on Apple if they don’t Facebook Connect.

  2. I just think the truth is that Apple just don’t do social. Their excellence is in fine detail and every detail and their complete control all through the process. Social is messy and muddy and I just don’t see Apple being to handle that, it is not in their genes.

    1. That is interesting thought. I would agree on Apple’s approach and social being in conflict. I was pretty interested in seeing how well Apple did Facebook, just like how well they have done with Netflix.

  3. “I am severely disappointed that I can’t bring my pre-configured social graph to Ping”

    That’s what you get when you don’t make use of existing *OPEN* standards, Om!

    http://activitystrea.ms <—- HEY APPLE, THIS IS FREE TO USE!

  4. “onerous terms that we could not agree to.”

    Looks like the Zuck has met his master.

    1. +1 to that. I want to be fly on the wall for those conversations.

      1. a spike in searches for “onerous” follows

  5. Not Drinking the Koolaid Thursday, September 2, 2010

    How much “digital social recommendation” is too much?

    We used to live without it. I don’t really care what a bunch of semi-connections recommend or don’t. Part of the beauty of the “old internet” was that we would surf, find things, discover — not live in little pods with like-minded people all talking about and recommending the same thing (Really, I don’t care what you “Like”). Better yet, we’d speak with people and deal with nuance, inflection and subtleties that got below the surface…

    It’s pretty sad that you look to the Facebook for your recommendations. Get out in the World, you’ll find it to be an interesting place where you can discover all sorts of things – Without Facebook “friends” feeding you canned recommendations (only items marked with a “Like” right? Which is what percentage of the real world? Less than 1%).

  6. I had the same sense using the service, which I would attribute to the bigger picture issue that Apple is all about reasoned orchestration, not “ship the idea,” “fix,” “iterate,” as say Facebook and even Google, are tuned to be, and social is all about fine-tuning and finagling.

    That aside, logic dictates the Facebook and Apple have a shared enemy in Google, and they will find a way to kiss and make up.

  7. Interesting post. It is going to take time for Apple to build a social graph and layer interesting recommendations based on it. It seems that the low hanging fruit is to allow users to follow artists. That is something Apple can do better than Facebook and it is the part of the network where the music and song recommendations will be the most influential (and something that should not be too hard to pull off because artists want to have a good relationship with Apple and a better presence in iTunes). Don’t you think that Apple can pull off that part of the graph?

  8. This is VERY annoying. I turned off Ping for a second to see the Facebook button again (the first time none of my friends had used it) but it didn’t show up AND now the people I follow won’t show up in my Recent Activity and I can’t UNfollow them and then REfollow them. The only solution (I have tried reinstalling iTunes on my Mac) is to turn off Ping and wait a week until my account is fully erased. Please help because I don’t if this will work!!!

  9. It appears that independent artists, even those with albums on iTunes are unable to set up Artist accounts. What’s the point of all this then?

    Apple has recommended I follow Lady Gaga on Ping. No thank you. Looks like MySpace has gotten a reprieve.

  10. Internet text is not communication and Internet friends are not friends.

    Watch with me as the meaning of the word “friends” morphs from it’s current meaning, “others with whom you are intimate”, to it’s future meaning, “others you do not know or care about”

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