They don't and Google knows it, but only co-founder Sergey Brin can say so.
In this case, it is the Emperor seeing his subjects' new clothes. Or the profound lack thereof.
(And if you haven't seen Chrome OS, here is our visual tour).
As originally reported by CNET, following Thursday's Chrome OS announcement, Brin informally told reporters that the two operating systems were "likely to converge over time," but offered no specific timetable.
His remarks didn't seem important at the time and were briefly lost in the excitement of the new OS. Today, however, people who heard the remark realized Brin actually said something important. And it undermines the whole Chrome OS concept.
Brin cited the common Linux OS and WebKit browser heritage the two operating systems share as an example of forces driving them together.
During the presentation, other Google execs described a "perfect storm of converging trends" that somehow required it to develop and support two separate operating systems.
Maybe converging trends lead to converging operating systems? Could be, just ask Sergey Brin.
I had already wondered what the difference would be between Android and Chrome when installed on a netbook. Given the Chrome browser, wouldn't Android do all the same things Chrome could do, plus run Android applications?
Isn't that what users really want? A s opposed to an operating system only capable of running a browser and connecting to Internet-based applications?
It is easy to understand why Google wants to keep Chrome OS and Android separated in our minds: Chrome OS seems revolutionary, if a bit far-fetched. Android, by comparison, is the evolution of what are already doing.
In reality, Chrome OS is a subset of Android, Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. It's the new Lite OS, faster and less filling.
However, merge Chrome and Android and you end up with Android.
It will be hard for Google to keep people from noticing what a good idea that is. An idea that in some ways cuts the legs right out from under a standalone Chrome OS.