Fly Or Die: Hands On With The Google Music Beta And A Wild New Wi-Fi Hard Drive

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This week Erick and I received two invites to the Google Music Beta and I also discovered that Erick is a secret 90s classic rap fan who used to drink the brass monkey while whiling away the hours in his college dorm room. Who knew?

We also tried out the new Seagate GoFlex Satellite wireless hard drive and discussed why I loved the New Yorker iPad app so darn much. Plus, at some point in the show, a rep from one of the three companies comes on to respond to our verdicts (we don’t know who it is until he shows up, which is part of the fun).

You can watch these three clips from the show (including a detailed hands-on of Google Music) or you can watch the entire episode here, featuring all three products.

What did we discover? Well, as of right now Google Music is just a file locker that uses a standalone desktop app to transfer your entire music library to the cloud. That doesn’t mean it’s not cool, it just means it doesn’t have the music discovery and purchasing features that we’ve come to know with non-cloud based iTunes. However, this is Google – they’ll get this fixed eventually and until that day comes you can still use the service to listen to your entire, remotely-stored collection on almost any device that supports Flash in the browser or has a standalone app. This limits things to Android-only at this point, but I wouldn’t be surprised if an HTML5 version or iOS app isn’t forthcoming. (Update: The music does play in mobile Safari, but it is not the smoothest experience).

The GoFlex Satellite is another device that stores your information in the cloud, albeit in a cloud that exists five feet from your iPad or PC. This 500 GB drive costs $199 and has a built-in WiFi access point. When you connect to it, you are brought to a page that displays all of the music, movies, and photos on the drive and you and up to three other people can all access the files at the same time. It’s drag-and-drop simple and Seagate even made a standalone iPad app for viewing unsupported video and photo formats.

Finally, Erick and I fight over the New Yorker iPad app. I love it for its simplicity, while he finds it too simplistic. Is this the happy medium or just another magazine app? You decide.