Web Sites as Web Services
Alex Iskold wrote in March that as more and more of the Web is becoming remixable, the entire system is turning into both a platform and the database. Major web sites are going to be transformed into web services - and will effectively expose their information to the world. Such transformations are never smooth - e.g. scalability is a big issue and legal aspects are never simple. But, said Alex, it is not a question of if web sites become web services, but when and how.
The transformation will happen in one of two ways. Some web sites will follow the example of Amazon, del.icio.us and Flickr and will offer their information via a REST API. Others will try to keep their information proprietary, but it will be opened via mashups created using services like Dapper, Teqlo and Yahoo! Pipes. The net effect will be that unstructured information will give way to structured information - paving the road to more intelligent computing.
Note that we can also see this trend play out currently with widgets and especially Facebook in 2007. Perhaps in 10 years time the web services landscape will be much more open, because the 'walled garden' problem is still with us in 2007.
Image from Web 3.0: When Web Sites Become Web Services, by Alex Iskold