Andrew, I wanted to pipe in and agree with you on this. I think that we need to think about this type of application as being driven by web searches, rather than someone coming to a destination portal.
In other words, a user might go to their browser and type in what they are looking for, and then expect to get directly to that page. This is the most common model nowadays for people seeking information---things like portals and paywalls and other 'hidden content' are not how people find information.
Of course, there may be a concept of a community or a collaborative exercise where people come together to discuss, work on ideas, and refine thoughts. But I think that your vision of how people will address Internet applications in the future is absolutely correct.