I am thinking of a throbber in the status bar that ties into a download daemon/ gnome-vfs this allows all applications to fob off web downloading to this daemon and for it to throb when it’s busy. Downloads can be marked by the app as visiable or hidden so the dowload GUI can hide things like web pages and show big files. As this is all centerlised it could use a common cache for all apps. If I drag a link from the browser to the file manager it uses the downloader to do it, a simple pop-up message appears under the downloader status icon for a couple of seconds so the user knows what is going on, the throbber continues to rotate until the download is complete and then flashes up a download finished message for a few seconds, at any time hovering the mouse over the status icon will give a summary and clicking on it will show a download manager.
just an idea.Listen to this podcast