Apple Opens Up: Subtle iTunes 10.0.1 Update Makes Ping Immensely More Useful

Like many people, I activated Ping when Apple revealed it earlier this month, and then like many people I stopped using it. Where's the, um, social? Why is it saying I like all these Britney Spears remixes? Et cetera.

But the latest software update from Apple might go a little way toward fixing and answering at least one of these pressing questions.

One most notable changes in 10.0.1 is the ability to use Ping from within your own iTunes library, instead of having to manually search out music tracks you already owned in the tedious ether of the iTunes Store. It's a subtle yet important shift for Apple, a company long known for, ahem, control of content and media.

What this means is the previous setup, wherein a user would have to share songs via the iTunes Store and nowhere else, is gone. It's been replaced with a Ping button next to every song you own. With the button, located in a drop down menu accompanying all your music library tracks, you can "like" that song, or post it to your profile with a note. Or you can use the drop down menu to find that artist song or album in the iTunes Store. All this is done from within iTunes on your machine.

Again, it's a subtle change, and maybe one that should have been there all along, but the shift is perhaps indicative of an Apple that's opening up the iTunes/Ping experience a bit to make things easier for the user.

There's obviously more work to be done to make Ping into the powerful music-sharing social network Apple obviously wants it to be—the network remains limited by the fact that Apple continues to not provide any kind of serious access to Facebook or Twitter, for example. That said, it's a start for all you share-crazy music lovers out there. [TechCrunch]