Alex Bosworth asks if Flash is the missing piece for web applications:
‘m not talking about the interface, but about the underlying data power afforded by Flash. The ability to make persistent socket connections alone has huge implications for rich app development. Flash also has more access to the multimedia parts of your computer, enabling things like Google Video. Also the browser side caching story with the limitations of cookies is pretty nuts in the days of 500 gig hard-drives.
This means you could do something like a voice chat web application with an html+css interface. Or GMail could avoid refreshing every 15 min and just get the email when it’s sent. Or Google Reader could store blog entries in the Flash cache and avoid being so horribly slow. (Maybe even work offline?)