When Apple introduced its Ping social network for iTunes, it was clearly a first step that was destined for improvement over time. And today, Apple made its first tweak to the still-maligned service.

The most obvious element of the Ping update is that it now integrates with users iTunes libraries, allowing them to share songs with other Ping users. This has a couple of benefits. First, it means users can access Ping features from their iTunes music player rather than forcing them to open Ping separately. This allows users to play music and browse what friends are listening to as the same time. Second, it means users don’t have to find songs they wish to share in the iTunes Store before sharing them. They can just share the songs in their iTunes library, by adding a “Ping” button to every song that gives users the ability to “like,” post to their Ping stream, or get more artist information.

Another update is the addition of a Ping sidebar which provides access to all of Ping’s features from within the iTunes music player. Not yet added, however, is integration with existing social networks like MySpace or Facebook, which is really the most important update Ping needs to become a relevant social music service. It also needs to add the ability to track what songs Ping users are actually playing (not just buying) and add that information to the social feed. Apple’s Genius song recommendation feature in iTunes does this, so it’s not like Apple doesn’t know how.