I'll add that unified communications is a big part of it. UC may not be named, but the concept is a looming presence. The idea of knitting together standalone and collaborative applications on a foundation that enables a high degree of meta insight – insight into what the system and other participants are doing – is akin to UC and its pivotal presence element.
The Chrome OS approach is to use the Chrome browser as a user interface to reach cloud-based functions. IT World Canada puts it well:
Thus, the Google OS will be the Google cloud's beachhead on users' computing devices. News reports say the first version of the Chrome OS is due by late fall and it will be aimed at notebooks. The IT World Canada piece and others identify Dell as a possible customer. Google is developing a hopefully soon-to-be-renamed function called “chromoting” to bring the dominant universe of Windows applications into the Chrome OS constellation.
All of this dovetails nicely with unified communications. Much of what Google is doing essentially is the company's very specific take on UC. Indeed, at least one company, IceWarp, this month released version 10.1 of its Unified Communications Server that is specifically geared toward Chrome.
The connections between Google, through Chrome, and unified communications are substantial. The release of the Chrome OS later this year will be an extremely important step for both.