By MATT SCHULER, Digital Architect, Marx Layne

Google wants to open up the debate between Mac and PC, and it’s planning on doing so with Chrome OS. Announced in 2009, Google targeted Chrome OS as “an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks.”

Today, they started the process of delivering on that promise and are even giving some lucky people a chance to get a Chrome OS Notebook for free.

So what is Chrome OS? Google explains it pretty well in the introduction video.

They want users to be able to connect to the web instantly, which is good for most businesses’ web strategies. “Chrome notebooks boot in about 10 seconds and resume from sleep instantly,” Google claims. They want users to be able to have the same experience everywhere, so apps, documents, and settings are stored in the cloud. Google says you could even lose your computer, and log into another Chrome OS notebook and get right back to work.

From a business perspective, I love the cloud concept because it’s great for strategy. If it doesn’t matter where I’m logging in from when I access my documents, then I can log in from anywhere. That’s beneficial to collaboration and to getting things done.

Google’s also getting into a little bit of one-upmanship by teaming with Verizon Wireless to offer 100MB of free 3G data every month for the first two years. I have to say I was stunned at that kind of deal. There are also contract-free plans for users who will need more bandwidth. Integrating 3G into a device isn’t new, but giving away data on a laptop is a pretty big step.

Another benefit for business that I see in Chrome OS is in the security settings and automatic updates. A lot of the in-depth security features are listed on their page, or you can check out their informational video.

Google says its Chrome OS is “a work in progress” and they’re looking for people to test it out and offer suggestions on how to make it better. They’re taking applications from people to be part of a pilot program. From the selection list, it looks like they’re taking applicants from all walks of life, including business, education, non-profits, developers and the even individuals.

I applied to test drive a Chrome notebook, and it might be worth it for you to check out their site for more information.