December 17, 2009, 11:08 AM — Google's primary operating systems are licensed under various open licenses. They're designed for ostensibly new generation hardware. You need to look at them. Fortunately, they're both super-lightweight and easily viewed in desktop hypervisors like VMWare Fusion and Virtual Box. Both require some assembly.
The Google Code Live-Android Page offers two files to concatenate together to then be installed as a 'live CD' image for mounting as a virtual x86 Machine. Create a new VM in your favorite desktop hypervisor and have at it. The full download page lists the full history and the all-important read-me docs. It's an easy march to then get apps to fool around with.
[ See also: Run Google's Chrome OS from a thumb drive ]
Google Chrome OS is more difficult to get into a VM using the Google components. An ostensibly clean (use at your own risk) image can be downloaded and run as a VM, simply. The Chrome OS 'blob' instance can have apps stored within it, but the OS is really more of a browser engine and it's really designed for web application use. That doesn't mean that one can't make their own apps, just that it defeats the real purpose of having a web-based application store.
Both operating systems have skirted real issues, like authentication, directory services, single sign on (SSO), and are somewhat embryonic in terms of mass-market use. Chrome OS and Android completely avoid backup/restore issues. Network connectivity is inherent through the virtual machine one uses to host Chrome OS, but Android might need a driver-- it's used to being run a mobile phone.
Both operating systems likely coincide with Google's determination to chip away at Microsoft's OEM business-- especially mobile phones where Microsoft is perceived as very weak. But we ought to have some fun with them in any event, as they're in your future. Might as well get a look now, while they're young and still wet behind the ears.