Mozilla Firefox and The Single-Sign-On Holy Grail

Mozilla Weave for Firefox

Mozilla Weave for Firefox

Ever since Microsoft introduced the idea of CardSpace, the holy grail of single login has been sought after by many. OpenID has been a player in the field of single login but the idea never really picked up the level of mainstream adoption needed.

With the recent growth of social media, and to leverage their reach and power, social networking sites started offering their authentication services to third party applications. Authentication systems, such as Facebook connect and Google Friend’s connect, offered users the ability to sign up using their already established ID’s and simplify the sign up process to new applications and sites.

Single-Sign-On (SSO) Woes

While that has been a great example of how social media sites are expanding into other areas of influence on the internet, it already raised quite of few alarms. Besides the single-sign-on tech wars amongst internet giants, the SSO system has facilitated phishing attacks on users. You are no longer supposed to only enter your account information on the sites that you registered on.

Besides that, concerns over privacy and the likelihood of giants, like Facebook, being careless about private information made the following proclamation very timely:

“Your identity is too important to be owned by any one company.
Your friends are too important to be owned by any one company.”

That was the advice Mozilla’s UX chief Aza Raskin gave in a recent blog post in which he described FireFox’s take on identity management.

Enter FireFox

Mozilla Weave Cloud

Mozilla Weave Cloud

The browser knows the most about where you have been around the web, and yet it doesn’t share that information.  So it’s just a natural progression for the browser to start recognizing who you are. That way you will have a consistent user experience regardless of the location or computer you are using.

Utilizing a combination of OpenID and auto-logins, Firefox promises to take browser’s password managers to the next level. What Firefox promises to achieve with the Weave Identity component is to provide you with complete identity management. It will offer you mass password reset, automatic password registration, automatic password change, two click shopping experience amongst many other features. The attractive part is that, for once, the user experience of logging in or signing up will be consistent amongst all sites. Allowing a crisp user experience regardless of the website.

So what are they promising?

The folks at FireFox gave us a sneak peak into what they have in store for the Mozilla FireFox Weave in this screen-cast. From the presentation, and their Mozilla project page, you realize that weave will be solving 4 problems:

  1. Reusing user accounts when provided by OpenID or another SSO.
  2. Simplifying Account registration.
  3. Synchronizing profile data across different accounts.
  4. Privacy and data ownership, by using a private key to encrypt information.

This is really promising if the Firefox team delivers on all those promises. For now, you can go an install Weave as an add-on and start using it. While its still limited to a password manager and information synchronization it’s still a useful add-on.

So, what do you think about FireFox’s attempt  to simplify login? Would you use it? Let us hear your thoughts.

Concepts of how Weave will work

Concepts of how Weave will work

Comments and Reactions

4 responses to “Mozilla Firefox and The Single-Sign-On Holy Grail”

  1. Beiruta says:

    I just have one question: what happens if you lose or forget the unified password you set?

  2. Roba says:

    This will certainly make everyone's life easier. I know there are tons of user/password management tools, but having it all built in is just heavenly.

  3. zhils says:

    It makes life easier when you use multiple hosts and want to synchronize all your firefox. But if you want to have access to your shared passwords without a full synchronization of all your firefox instances, others addons exist like firewebsso .
    Of course, one master password to protect all, means one password lost, all passwords are lost.

  4. Travis says:

    I can't wait for this feature to be implemented. I'm getting totally synched about the next release.

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