ChromeOS is a very good move for everyone involved. Remember, this OS and the devices it will run on are not targeting average slashdotters. I can personally vouch that I come across daily contact with people, business people not just teenagers, who don't use anything other than their browser. The worst aspect of a computer for them, is upgrading, updating all applications, viruses, malware, and general maintenance of the system. They nearly all fail in these, and after a year, they think their laptop is not usable anymore and go and buy a new one. They would LOVE this OS, and are they primary targets of it. Also, synchronisation between multiple computers is a bitch, that even they most fail at. And they hate leaving their documents here and there. Files and directories don't work for them, it's a broken metaphor for most people, and as much as love to organise my files in hierarchical directories, they simply don't care. They just want access to their information, when they need, as conveniently as possible.
I hate Web apps as much as the next guy on this forum, and even use my trusty IMAP client for fetching my emails from Gmail. But I can't deny that web apps are the future, specially when HTML 5 comes off age and becomes widespread. If you look back at what the Web looked like 5 years ago and compare it to now, you'll see that it will be irresistible in 5 years time. Have a look at http://www.chromeexperiments.com/ to get a taste of what we are looking at.
On a more general note, anyone who is comparing this to old failed projects based on thin clients, X terminals or net pcs, is missing the point. Yes, the technology behind this might be similar to those, but times are changing. On the one hand, people are getting used to ever-present always-available services. On the other hand, 3G is now widespread, affordable, and provides great utility for many. Laptops and phones are converging. 2007 was the year of netbooks, 2010 might be the year of smartbooks (running ARM processors). Smartphones are morphing into Internet tablets (e.g,, N900). These are very different, and interesting times.
Yes, this is cloud computing, and yes, it raises huge privacy issues. It is up to us the tech savvy crown to raise these issues and address them.
Slashdotters can always run their trusty Debian or Fedora or FreeBSD or on their computer. And they remain great choices. But Google is pushing applications to go online and cross browser. They are pushing for open source drivers. They are pushing for open standards and cooperation with upstream and downstream projects. This is a Good Thing (TM) for all of us, even if we are not the target consumers of this OS.