There is huge momentum behind ‘APIs’ which seems obvious from a software point of view, but APIs are kinda like the new ODBC in that you can easily connect to any number of things with common protocols and encoding.
From a metadirectory standpoint this is really neat because the integration/reach story has always been the management agent for me. Today the API plays a key role in the integration/reach story (how many things can you connect to?, Do you have an MA for X?). This should shift the value of the metadirectory to the integration features it provides, instead of just the number of things it can connect to.
Anyhow, here’s a neat sample of using an API to connect to Bing to provide search results. There are a huge number of public/free APIs to choose from, including some that come from Microsoft server products like Windows and Active Directory.