Ping has ponged. Apple's social networking service for music, which debuted as part of iTunes 10 in 2010, has come to an end. A message on the service says that it will no longer be available as of September 30. The news was first reported by 9to5Mac.

A social network that allowed you to see what music your friends recommended or were purchasing on the iTunes Store, Ping was announced to great fanfare, but the feature never quite took off. A hint of the service's demise came in May of this year, when CEO Tim Cook, speaking at the All Things Digital conference, said of it:

We tried Ping and the customer voted and said, this isn't something I want to put a lot of energy into. Some customers love it, but there's not a huge number that do, so will we kill it? I don't know. I'll look at it.

The feature also got no mention at the event Apple held on Wednesday, even though much of the news dealt with music products. Later on Wednesday, users who accessed Ping saw a message at the top of their recent activity page saying "Ping will no longer be available as of September 30." Those who had never signed up for Ping got a similar message when they clicked on its icon in iTunes's sidebar: "Thank you for your interest in Ping. We are no longer accepting new members."

Ping's slow fade to dust won't likely be cause for widespread tears and mourning. The service had largely become a ghost town, and critics--including our own Christopher Breen--knocked it for falling short on many fronts, including lack of integration with more established social networks, poor recommendation algorithms, and sharing features that weren't fully baked. So perhaps it's both goodbye and good riddance to Ping.

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