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Cynthia Brumfeld realized that a month-old New York Times article mentioned the Google PC/Cube well before the L.A. Times ever did.

The article, discussing Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie has this on page 4:

Google has desktop search software and a Web-based e-mail service, two offerings aimed at parts of Microsoft’s stronghold. How much further it plans to go in providing alternatives to Microsoft’s software is uncertain, though it certainly looks interested.

Google was among the companies that attended a meeting last month at I.B.M.’s headquarters in Armonk, N.Y., of the Open Document Foundation, a group formed to agree on freely available formats for word processing, spreadsheets and other office documents; the idea is to come up with alternatives to Microsoft’s proprietary Office formats. And for the last few months, Google has talked with Wyse Technology, a maker of so-called thin-client computers (without hard drives).

The discussions are focused on a $200 Google-branded machine that would likely be marketed in cooperation with telecommunications companies in markets like China and India, where home PC’s are less common, said John Kish, chief executive of Wyse. “Google is on a path to developing a stack of software in competition with the Microsoft desktop, and one that is much more network-centric, more an Internet service,” Mr. Kish said. “And this fits right into that.”

The rumor about Google’s dumb client, while not necessarily a traditional PC, seems to have a lot of weight behind it. Friday, Friday, Friday.

UPDATE: A personal theory: Maybe Google is set to launch Google Video pay-per-view with Google Wallet at CES to compete with Windows Media, and Microsoft planted the rumor to undermine Larry Page’s keynote. After all, what is a video download service compared to a $200 PC? I’d give this maybe 20%, but I wouldn’t hold it against Microsoft to be that sneaky.

Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

Visit the InsideGoogle blog.

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