Report: Google could launch Chrome OS for the masses at I/O 2011

W00t!!! Google may be preparing to officially launch its web-centric Chrome operating system for the masses at I/O 2011 during the second week of May.

The company recently introduced a number of different “channels” to the OS, including stable, beta and developer.

However, only the developer and beta channels were initially listed, with the stable channel surfacing on the OS drop down menu over the past few days.

As Lee Mathews of points out, the stable channel addition is certainly worth taking note of, as the CR-48 pilot program has been ongoing for about six months now.

Still, even if Google does launch its OS at I/0 2011, it is quite unlikely Mountain View will be posting downloadable versions any time soon, as the operating system is currently slated for pre-approved devices only. 

Of course, intrepid and savvy users can choose to experiment with the OS via nightly builds prepped for VMWare, VirtualBox and USB by devs like Hexxeh. 

Meanwhile, Mountain View remains understandably bullish about its upcoming Chrome OS, claiming the operating system will help significantly “push the web” forward.

“There’s really a true story on Chrome and there is a tactical question and there is a strategic question. Chrome is really pushing the web, and it has a fantastic opportunity when people have adopted Chrome,” a company exec explained during a recent earnings call transcribed by Forbes.

“They basically – instead of looking for Google and looking for search – the on the box gives them immediate access to Google searches. So from a strategic perspective, it has that in Chrome OS. On a tactical basis, right, everybody that uses Chrome… is a guaranteed locked in user for us in terms of having access to Google.”