(Googler hat off)
I just spent an hour in Starbucks. (My kid is down the street at a Chinese class.) In the past hour, I've checked my email, read news, caught up on the HTML5 mailing lists and IRC chatter, paid two bills, balanced my checkbook, and written this post. Without leaving my browser.
So yeah, Google Chrome OS is gonna be a hit.
Bummer about the whole "only runs apps signed by a private key that Google won't be sharing with anyone" thing. I'm not thrilled about the prospect of working for a DRM company. Google was in the DRM business once before; it ended with giving everyone their money back, twice. And does anyone honestly believe the first Chrome OS machine won't be jailbroken within a week? Update: I'm getting conflicting reports about whether retail (non-developer) Chrome OS hardware will include a way to run unverified software. I'm locking this discussion thread until I can confirm this important detail.
On the other hand, computer maintenance sucks gargantuan donkey balls, and normal people don't care about root. If you accost a random person on the street and ask them if they need root on their operating system to install another browser, and they'll have three questions for you: 1. What's root? 2. What's an operating system? 3. What's a browser?
Still... if I had root on a Linux netbook, the first thing I'd do is install Chromium and then spend 99% of my time in the browser. So I have to think that Chrome OS is a step in the right direction.
This is an open thread, but I won't answer any questions on behalf of Google.