Yes, there are occasional events where casual folks might discover this "Linux thing" for the first time. But there isn't a single entity to then follow up with these folks, making sure they’re getting their questions answered and that they're getting the most out of Linux.
In reality, the likely offline discovery breakdown goes something like this:
Some of you might charge that the above example is exaggerated. I would respond with this: It's happened to people I know personally and it happens often. Wake up Linux community, our adoption model is broken and tired.
If there is one thing that I feel ChromeOS and Linux on the desktop have in common...besides the Linux kernel, it's that they both happen to be great products with rotten marketing. The advantage however, goes to Google with this one, due to their ability to spend big money online and reserve shelf space at big box stores.
Google believes that because they have the "online advantage" that offline efforts aren't really that important. This is incredibly short-sighted and reflects one of Google's biggest missteps. The belief that if you're not exposed to their online efforts, you're not worth bothering with, is only countered by local shelf-space at select big box stores.
My suggestion is this – offer Linux on the desktop to the ChromeOS market through offline efforts. This means Linux User Groups need to start raising funds to be present at county fairs, mall kiosks during the holiday season and teaching free classes at community centers. This will immediately put Linux on the desktop in front of the same audience that might otherwise end up with a ChromeOS powered appliance.
If local offline efforts like this don't happen, not to worry. Linux on the desktop will continue to grow as will the ChromeOS market. Sadly though, it will absolutely keep the two markets separate as they are now.