All aside, I think there is a conceptual component missing here. I admit that I don’t know what features need to be added to make the web feel more complete. However, what seems to make the web feel alive these days is quite simply, end-users! By that, I mean the concept of “The smartest guy in the room is everybody”. Companies make the concept and business plan, outsource the dev work to India or Canada, and then have bloggers work on the word of mouth, but eventually end-users manage and organize the contents and make it lively. YouTube, MySpace, Flickr, and so on all have these components.
The central idea of collective intelligence or the Wisdom of Crowds is at work these days. The most effective sites have no boundaries and are happy to work with each other even if they are in competition. I agree that such companies may not answer questions but they do solve some problems. Those problems might not be a concern to a father who is worried about his child safety on the internet, or a corporate executive who’s trying to get the most out of online Ad business. But those are the problems of little Johnny who was born with a mouse in his hand. Google, Apple, MySpace, YouTube attracted little Johnny. Microsoft and Yahoo didn’t. Little Johnny has found Apple and Google “intelligent” and on the other hand, Microsoft and Yahoo have lost on the “concept of cool” as far as Johnny is concerned. What little Johnnies ask next, ought to be Web 3.0!