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Is Apple About to Get Schooled by Facebook?

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Just like with the Kennedy assassination and OJ's highway chase, I'm often asked where I was when Apple announced its social music service Ping to the masses. An iTunes add-on of revolutionary import, Ping broke the mold on what conjoining music profiles, wall posts, Scrobbling, and a Coldplay endorsement could truly accomplish. Honestly, I don't know how I'd spent 80% of my time if it were to go away.

All right, in all seriousness, Apple's Ping service is an unmitigated failure, it underscores how far Apple needs to go to succeed in the social arena, and unless it's revamped for the iTunes Cloud, I can't see it lasting for much longer.

And now, according to a recent report by GigaOm's Om Malik, Ping's death knell may have been pushed up a few months.

In addition to tackling Apple's App Store, Facebook is gearing up to launch a social music service, possibly as early as August. The site has been eyeing Spotify -- the foreign-based streaming service coveted by the States -- among others as potential partners for tight integration with its social platform. The upcoming service will purportedly be available within a new Music tab on Facebook. Malik reports:

"Spotify already allows you to share the information about the song that you are listening to on Spotify with your Facebook friends, but the next level of integration is going to be much deeper. And it won't be just Spotify –- my sources tell me that Facebook has been reaching out to other online music services and much of the attention at [Facebook conference] f8 should be focused on music. Facebook Connect and Facebook Likes are key components of this effort."

The service will be accessed by the Music Dashboard. Along with basic music controls, the dashboard will include Music Notifications, which aggregate a history of tracks your friends have listened to or recommended. Also featured are music ranks based on the number of plays and a "Happening Now" ticker which displays your friends' music activity in real time.

Such features aren't anything new to members, but would be welcome additions to Google Music, Amazon Cloud Drive, and iCloud users.

As of now, the streaming music arena is getting more and more crowded, but no single service has completely nailed all the necessary features to propel itself far ahead of the competition. Come August, we'll see how Facebook does.

At the very least, it's gotta be better than Ping, right?

(See also: Apple Screws Honest iTunes Customers and Google Music Is Awful at Recommending Songs)

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