Even though a certain operating system won't be making the 2011 debut we hoped for, at least now we've got more details. The same goes for Google's upcoming social layer, Google Me. I mean, Emerald Sea. I mean, Google +1. 

Looking Forward to Google Chrome

After lots of back and forth and a bowl full of rumors, we can assure you Google won't be releasing Chrome OS this year. Instead, the Internet giant attempted to tide a very small number of fans over with a preview version of its operating system complete with a limited edition hardware prototype of Cr-48. 

So far, we've heard the highly anticipated operating system behaves very much like the browser it's modeled after (no surprise there). As there is no need to launch a browser when using the OS, users are online right from the start, and can download apps to run locally or head straight for the cloud.

CNET was lucky enough to receive one of these early packages. Check out Seth Rosenblatt's review here:

Excited? Hopefully you can manage to stay that way until Summer 2011, the new scheduled release date. 

Google +1

A couple months ago it was "Google Me". Last week it was "Emerald Sea". Today, Google is calling their social layer "Google +1". We can't wait to hear what it's called next week! Guesses, anyone? Feel free to drop them in the comments below. 

Anyway. Here's a leaked picture of...whatever it's called: 


(Image credit: TechCrunch)

See "CONFIDENTIAL!" in bright red up there? Look to the right of it and note the toolbar. There’s a Share button, a place for an avatar, and a username. Who knows what the numerical count next to that is for. (Maybe a share count, or an e-mail count?) And finally, there's an options menu.

The "Loop" link on the upper left side is also notable, as several suspect that it is Google's word for "groups". 

MG Siegler of TechCrunch reached out to Google to ask about the leaked screenshot above. Google's answer: 

We’re always experimenting with new ways to improve our products, and we have already confirmed that we are focused on incorporating social elements across Google. But we have nothing new to announce at this time.

Google Message Continuity 

To the surprise of no one, Google launched another service designed specifically to bring Microsoft users over to the G-side. 

Message Continuity -- a Postini service -- is a new e-mail continuity tool that makes sure Microsoft Exchange users won't lose access to their inboxes during an outage. The service syncs on-premise accounts with the Google cloud, allowing access to e-mail no matter what happens internally. 

Once servers are restored after an outage, any activity that took place via Google Message Continuity -- messages sent and received, message state changes -- are then synced back to the servers, allowing users to seamlessly transition from Exchange to Gmail, then back to Exchange:

The service will run new customers US$ $25 per user per year, or an additional US$ 13 per user per year for current Postini customers. Big G also recommends using Google Message Continuity if your organization is planning to make the big move to Google Apps (shocking!), as it can provide a "smooth bridge to the cloud." 

Google Website Optimizer

More good news for Google Apps users: Google Website Optimizer now comes free with Apps accounts. The tool aims to eliminate guesswork from website design by testing variations of webpages.

Users simple select a page they suspect might need a change, and use Google Website Optimizer to create alternate versions of it and then send a fraction of website visitors to each alternate version. The tool then runs an analysis in order to show how visitors to each version of the webpage behave: