I noticed my 10 year old brother trying to find a song the other day in a peculiar fashion. He simply typed in youtube and "genre name." He click on the 2nd link of the search results. Then clicking on the 3rd item of a side bar linking to a playlist. He was navigating the web through links provided by google like we use the directory system.
In this case, knowing the specific url would be mind numbing and utterly useless. However, the distinction between google and the web is just too blurred for so many people.
However, I think drgath's point is ultimately correct. For some people, there really is no internet besides Facebook. For some no internet without Google. Even crazier: I've met someone who does not know the internet without Siri.
If we hold onto things like the directory structure, then we couldn't have "advancements" in user interface design like iOS. Could we eventually get a web without urls like iOS is an operating system without a visible directory structure to end users? I think it would be a big win. The directory structure was replaced by single purposed apps. What will url's be replaced by?
The holy grail of companies. Full control over 95% of the users by sacrificing 5...
you are just dead wrong thinking this is good design. obscenely profitable? Yes.
Good design is made by serving the extreme 5% while accommodating the 95... Take it from someone who actually majored in product design and usability. The rationale for user interfaces is that the 95% will at some tasks be the 5percentile, and if you don't serve them, over time you lose them. People think ios is a hallmark of usability only because the market has too much canon fodder so the 95percentile seems infinite. But eventually enough people will be fed up by being unable to send a file from one app to another the way they want. And will move to whatever crap interface that at least have a file system that allows them to compete the task.
Oh I can't upvote you enough, this isn't just for design, this is how advancements in tech happen in general. I remember when CVS was the dominant version control systems and old fogies didn't need this subversion nonsense. I read an essay in defense of svn that argued "just keep using cvs and don't worry about it, there's always going to be a minority that needs key features most people don't, let them have svn."
We're now two generations of version control down the road, both svn and git ate their predecessor's lunch by catering to the needs of the handful that were unsatisfied. Once the new thing works, most people eventually comes along because the key features turned out to be pretty nice, even if not necessary. That's how software progresses in general. Walled gardens exist to prevent others from making the next product that could eat the current one's lunch. Why else would it be verboden to "duplicate" iOS functionality?