Built-in Google notifications
Drag and drop in the browser
Another instance of what appears to be a core Chrome OS competency that I've had to hack into my life -- in this case using the wonderful but fundamentally limited Mailplane. Why should it take an all-new OS to make dragging and dropping files to and from web applications a common occurrence? I also love the concept of plugging a drive or an accessory into my computer and its default action being to present itself to my browser. This does not sound like crazy talk to me.
Login-populated, portable user environment
If 90 percent of what I do is in a browser, why can't I take that environment with me with as a simple login? This is another thing mobile phones are starting to get into, particularly again with Android and webOS, and that I'm glad to see Firefox is bringing in version 4 with Weave.
Free but compatible
The idea of someone making open source software that's targeted at specific hardware and even dictates some of its environment shouldn't feel so refreshing. Android has struck a nice balance between a tightly regulated ecosystem of Google-approved "sure thing" devices and a wild west of non-Google devices powered by the open source elements of the OS. I've always been rebuffed by Linux due to the inconsistent hardware support and knowledge that if the system breaks I won't know how to fix it or get back to my data. The combination of the cloud-reliance and Google's heavyweight status means I could actually see myself buying a Google-branded 3rd party device -- a monetary commitment that I've never felt Ubuntu quite merited, despite its multitude of partnerships. I'd love to see a company like HP (for instance) go beyond mere skinning of Ubuntu and really commit to stepping on Microsoft's toes and investing in an open source desktop operating system to the point that it can offer true competition.
But... I still need my real OS
There's also the fact that many web apps have been designed to operate with a local storage of files to draw from (Flickr, YouTube, Gmail, blogging), so I'm not sure I want to juggle the appropriate USB stick everytime I want to be more than a passive consumer of content -- if all my creation takes place in Google silos, I actually start to become a less productive member of the web.
If Chrome OS can breath new life into low-powered hardware and provide a low-cost alternative for someone who just wants to do email and play Dolphin Olympics 2 on their netbook, then that's great, but for me, a self-described power user, I'd benefit more from watching these features land on my Mac and Windows and Ubuntu PCs than from waving goodbye to Photoshop and iMovie in exchange for a Google-built operating system.