Being an early adopter of technology, I usually sign up for beta services as soon as they are released. Now, with that I have hundreds of accounts I need to remember and keep track of. Most browsers make this easier by providing an option to remember username and passwords, however, it still leaves a lot to be desired.
Mozilla is working on a new concept called “Account Manager” which will dramatically simplify how users connect to websites. The initial prototype of the concept integrates into Firefox and allows users to sign in and sign out of websites from the toolbar.
The basic concept behind account manager is to allow users to simplify the process of signing in and out of your web accounts. Once you install the add-on you will see a key sign next to the location bar. Clicking on which will show you an option to connect to the current site.
Clicking on connect will sign you into the account for the current site. You can also use the same key button to sign out of the account from the current site. The current add-on is in just a prototype so don’t expect it to work very well. More details follow below.
What Is Account Manager?
According to the Mozilla Wiki, here is what the Account Manager Project aims to produce:
- A protocol definition that sites can use to define their account-and-session management features in a format a web browser can understand
- An implementation of this protocol as a Firefox add-on.
The goal is to help users manage the process of “connecting” to a site, in a way that allows us to use secure browser chrome, and supports multiple authentication mechanisms.
The account manager is an evolution of the Firefox password manager and the Weave identity components (OpenID + auto-login). It will help users manage logins and profile information for each site, and it will automate currently manual tasks such as signing up for sites, generating passwords, etc. The first prototype will have support for “traditional” login methods (example., form + cookie), but it will also have some support for OpenID/federated logins.
Account Manager Standards
Mozilla is basically creating a new standard called “HTTP Extensions for Account Management and Session Identification” for websites, which will lay down the specifications on how this unified Account Manager will work. There is an early draft for the concept available here.
Websites which follow the specifications in the draft will automatically allow Account Manager to manage them.
Trying Out Account Manager
Account Manager is just a prototype right now and only works with a select few sites, including Google, Yahoo and Facebook. If you want to give the account manager a shot, head over to this page to download it.
Account Manager requires that you have the passwords stored in the password manager for it to work.