Julie - Worldconnect was one of the first widely available gedcom sharing tools on the internet. It was part of RootsWeb and therefore free. Ancestry took over RootsWeb in 2000, I believe with the agreement they could incoporate the data into their products and marketing, but had to maintain free public access to the data.
I really thought the design of worldconnect was simple but so useful. The advanced search easily let you narrow down by spouse or parent name, the results let you see if a record had sources, notes, children and then gave you links to the spouses, and parents if they were attached. You could view all the surnames in a database. Get a full descendant report that was compact and linked.
No pictures, but for sharing facts and being able to search for something, and get a quick overview of the entire database it was great. You can tell that Ancestry did use it as a model for there own searching, but internet design preferences changed...preferring style over substance (IMO).
In defense of Ancestry, the change may have something to do with security issues. And if they hadn't taken over Rootsweb, any access may have disappeared years ago. But since there is no direct income from use of Worldconnect, I doubt they'll put more effort into restoring its usefulness.
I'd consider removing my database if I could find it!