My.FCC.gov and web services
If you watch the stream of new modules going through drupal.org, it's easy to miss those with special meaning. So you might not have noticed the appearance of Content API, an add-on to the Services module. The module was born of efforts by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to make 350,000 of its documents more available to the public, as part of a site that will enter public beta in a few weeks, My.FCC.gov. Like many government agencies, the FCC has been enthusiastic about Drupal lately, attracting a detailed write-up about its "reboot as an open government platform" on O'Reilly Radar last April. (FCC.gov also uses web services extensively, although without benefit of the Content API module.)
Seabourne Consulting in Washington, DC led the development, publishing a preview video of My.FCC.gov's prototype last May. Seabourne's Mike Reich told me that Drupal let them go from concept to working prototype in three weeks because they could leverage its existing features and add-ons, such as the Services module.
I consider web services to be a crucial area for improvement in Drupal 8. In fact, I made it the second Drupal 8 initiative back in April, and am very happy that Larry Garfield (aka Crell) has agreed to take on the challenge. In the meantime, the Content API module will give organizations like the FCC easier access to the power of web services right now, and its development could help guide efforts toward putting such tools in Drupal 8's core.