First off, the news was fake - hats of to TechRadar, if its article wasn't, as it appears to be, the first to call it out, TR was certainly the most vociferous voice spreading the reality.
The story, which was run on a "major website" (despite not appearing on Google's own blog) before being subsequently pulled, exemplifies a growing trend of online news sites failing to research before publishing - such is the race to get the news out first and gain momentum on services that drive web traffic, like Twitter, Digg, Google News, etc.
With media and news now emanating almost entirely from the web, it is worrying to see onlines being fooled as they put SEO and web traffic before the accuracy of reporting.
Secondly, away from the news gathers, is the news spreaders. News of the fake launch was all over Twitter, marketing as a huge announcement, when in fact it was anything but significant.
Being viral doesn't make facts or stories true - why do people continue to blindly circulates link without at least visiting, or reading the articles in full first? Many will forward a link through Twitter, Digg, Stumble Upon, etc just because it is interesting at face value.
Part of the TechRadar story is below, it is in full here.
Reports of Chrome OS arriving for the masses look to be premature, with the site that is being pushed containing a proviso that the content is nothing to do with Google.Update - Google has now blocked the download page which was available through a site hosted by Google (this was not the Google website).
A report went up on a major website which sparked a Twitter furore, but the article is now gone and only the echoes remain.
The facts certainly stack up; the site at http://sites.google.com/site/chromeoslinux/download is not what you would expect an official release to be hosted on for one thing.
The lack of an official post from Google announcing the build is a second, but the real clincher comes on the very page itself
"Chrome OS is not related to Google," says a footer on the page "Service provided by SUSE Studio. See the license."