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I've yet to go read the op page -- but:

  * for messaging why would you not use xmpp and/or smtp?
As for using http -- I'd say http makes good sense for getting, sending and receiving documents -- like text and images. It makes it fairly easy to implement a REST-like architecture.

As for things that have been tried before, we have ping backs -- that IMNHO never really worked. And there's Diaspora that have yet to come up with a stable protocol -- and have an implementation that is pretty badly broken.

It's also a good illustration of going the "full http" route: publishing becomes easy; interaction (server to server) becomes hard if you want to have any kind of security in place.

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