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."
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Gary states that his admission is an "official" statement. He is backed up by references in the source code to a "chromoting" plug-in.