Chrome OS may be even more awesome than anticipated. While most of your data will be stored in the cloud and the OS itself focuses entirely around a browser, some use of "legacy" apps will be possible. The Register reports that a feature called "Chromoting" will allow remote access to these older desktop apps.
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This information comes from a Google software engineer named Gary Kačmarčík. His description; "With this functionality (unofficially named 'chromoting'), Chrome OS will not only be [a] great platform for running modern web apps, but will also enable you to access legacy PC applications right within the browser."
Gary states that his admission is an "official" statement. He is backed up by references in the source code to a "chromoting" plug-in.