I'm not sure whether it's because I'm becoming more immersed technically in technology, rather than 'functionally' as I was previously, but it appears as though issues at the political level are clouding achievements at the technical level.
Zeth has posted before on a Social Networking protocol. That is to say that applications such as facebook, myspace and bebo share alot of similar datafields. Standardising these global fields and setting up a new social networking protocol would allow greater freedom of data-sharing, and enable more powerful "mash-ups" of data.
Tim Berners-Lee's book, "Weaving the Web" (which I am currently reading) is opening my eyes to just how self-deprecating his work has been. Not only would his work have normally afforded him a very wealthy lifestyle should he have chosen to 'close' the development of the project and put restrictions on his work - but he actively encouraged other people to benefit from his work - even when the way in which they were taking his idea was contrary to his own.
Now, nearly twenty years after the 'World Wide Web' started to gain momentum into something recognisable as what we use today, we've not yet got to a point which has fulfilled Berners-Lee's vision. He envisaged an open mine of information and collaboration. Wikified browsers were the original intention - where collaboration and editing was a key as browsing.
Another example of a good application that would work better as a protocol is twitter. I think the reason most people don't get twitter is that in essence its just an RSS feed. Today, paulbradshaw suggested that there be a twitter feed created purely for football scores - not chatter, just results. An RSS feed would have the same functionality - but a different interface.
In the same way that programmers have now begun to separate the content from the design with the advent of Content Management Systems and 'Blogs - so should things like twitter be more transparent about the platform on which it is built. RSS is expandable and usable - twitter has released an open API to allow integration and collaboration - yet it's still hindered by having a Central Point of Control. The initial design of the Web implied there was no central point necessary. By manufacturing applications and functions so that a central point is necessary is to lose part of the magic and scalability of the Web.