The concluding remark that "[as] patent attorneys get more Internet-savvy, [they will be] googling for prior art and posting queries to relevant mailing lists or newsgroup... [as] part of the routine toolkit of anyone doing patent searches" is off the mark. After all, this patent attorney found this posting.
Patent attorneys ALREADY serach "high and wide". One challenge is that they/we/I are/am not easily aided in "prior art" seaches by others because of a lay person's/engineer's/scientist's poor understanding of the legal interpretation of a patent claim, and what nexus the prior art must provide in whole and in part to render a claim anticipated (35 U.S.C. section 102) or obvious (35 U.S.C. section 103), and a patent invalid. Certainly we can try and explain this for an individual patent to hand. But all to often it takes great experience to see how prior art elements may be "woven" into a compendium which will, in total, render an issued patent invalid.