I suppose I'm a bit better prepared to accept this though having experienced "virtual machine" use fairly extensively in my last few years of work as a Biomedical Engineering Technician for Hines VA Medical Center. For a number of years leading up to my retirement in late Nov. 2009, a growing amount of my computer use at work was with "virtual machines" or at least virtual hard drive storage of my work product from software on the local PC I was working with at the time.
So what is a "Chromebook"? The little research I've done all points to a moderately powerful machine running a TINY version of Linux entirely designed for pure "Cloud computing" booting directly to Google Chrome web browser. So what is "cloud computing"? As I understand it, it means total "Virtual machine computing" with your web browser as the interface to the "cloud", the host of virtual machines accessible on the web via your login site or "Portal", Google in this case. Since the basic principle of the Chromebook is this total virtualization, with these machines there is no need for loading all of that "stuff" all Windows or Mac machines have to load to operate as fully independent computers. If all of the tasks you need to perform via computer can be done on those virtual machines in "the cloud" all you REALLY need to load on the perfect machine for same is a web browser. Everything else you need can be accessed via whichever web portal site you have access to. With Chromebooks in their right out of the box state, that is Google. If you have a Google login, you're ready to start using any Chrome book. You are supposed to be able to do the same from Chrome browser on any PC or MAC as well. I have a G mail account which I use only for Blog spot but haven't tried using Chrome to access any Google Apps yet.
Be sure to click on each of the highlighted text links in this post to see the YouTube videos on the subjects that relate to each one.