Google Chrome OS event this Thursday: beta release to follow?

Last Friday the rumor machine said Google Chrome OS, the open-source OS for netbooks, would drop in seven days time.  That's looking all the more likely today, with Google apparently sending out invitations to a Chrome OS event to be held on Thursday.  According to GigaOm, Google are describing the event as "an update on our progress with Google Chrome OS" together with discussing "launch plans for next year"; that's leading to speculation that a beta release is in the offing.

On the bill for the event are Sundar Pichai, Google VP of Product Management together with Matthew Papakipos, engineering director for Google Chrome OS.  The expectation is that Google will announce a test beta for either partial or full release, to gather feedback and bug reports prior to the official launch in 2010.  Such a plan would give hardware developers time to create new drivers, a shortage of which has been pointed to as a potential stumbling block for the web-centric platform.

Google Chrome OS is targeted at netbooks and other low-power devices, and focuses on bringing webapps to a cut-down and simplistic desktop.  Users would be expected to keep most of their content in cloud-based storage, while the differentiating line between local and remote applications would be blurred with HTML5 and other technologies.