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Notice something similar about these popular websites? I'm not talking about that Facebook shit, it's annoying too, but the huge amounts of wasted space on the sides. Is this some kind of a trend? Did web designers worldwide suddenly decide widescreen monitors are overpowered for Internet use? And the dead space isn't even used by ads! It's for nothing! At least let me customize the sites myself or I might as well saw the sides off of my monitor because nobody is using it.
Also, fuck the overuse of Flash. Flash sites run like shit, have no right click functions and look cheap.
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I'm going to have to disagree with the entire premise of this thread. Restricting the overall area of a web page maintains readability. There's nothing more annoying than trying to read a body of text that spans the entire width of a monitor while trying to keep track of where you're reading when you go to the next line.
This, anything more than around 1000px wide is impossible to read.