Blimey, the rumours were true! Google have released an early version of their netbook system Chrome OS into the wild.
You could try compiling it yourself, but there’s pre-compiled VMWare disk images available already (they work fine in Virtualbox too, btw) If you want step-by-step instructions you can check out Techcrunch. Otherwise proceed straight to the downloads:
To log in, use your Google account (or better yet, a fake one you’ve made just for this).
As expected, Chrome OS turns out to be a totally browser-based experience. It’s totally about using Google’s web services, with no locally installed software available, although Gears means you should be able to keep using the system even when you’re offline. This should keep the overall size of the system down to a miniscule size, and Google have said they’re keen for all Chrome OS netbooks to use solid state drives. The small system footprint should keep this affordable, and performance will doubtless be through the roof. The system may lack a lot of features you’d get in Windows 7 or Ubuntu Netbook Remix, but it’ll be blazing fast!
Lots more info, including some details of what’s under the hood, can be found on the Ubuntu forums. Enjoy!