You don't have to wait until sometime in 2010 to try Google's web-centric operating system on your netbook. Since its unveiling to the world a few days ago people have been eager to know how well it performs -- even at this early stage -- and with the source code available online details on how to set up and run a virtual machine version were quick to emerge.
Today a new build is doing the rounds on torrent sites, one that will let you run Chrome OS from a USB drive instead of on a virtualized environment. The folks over at Engadget were able to put it to the test on a Dell Vostro A90 netbook and were pleased with its performance as well as the improved boot time. From power up to the login screen, Chrome OS took around 22 seconds to load and was immediately ready to start browsing.
One major setback right now is that its device drivers are in the very early stages of development. That means some parts of your computer may not respond when using Chrome OS, and in fact Engadget's demonstration didn't include Wi-Fi functionality. Nevertheless if you are feeling adventurous, you can try it out on your netbook by grabbing the bootable image based on the Chromium OS build of Twitter user Hexxeh.
Setup instructions are available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. Also, be sure to check out Google's list of devices that are known to work with the latest development version of the upcoming OS.