Fire Fox and Identity in the Browser

ReadWriteWeb reports this week:

Decrying redirects and iframes, Raskin tells of a brave new world where an in-browser button that defies navigational difficulties allows for something closer to true identity portability than we’ve seen yet:Identity will be one of the defining themes in the next five years of the Web. Nearly every site has a concept of a user account, registration, and identity. Searching for “sign in” on Google yields over 1.8 billion hits. And yet, the browser does nothing to make this experience better save for some basic auto form filling. The browser leaves websites to re-implement identity management, and forces users to learn a new scheme for every site… Your identity is too important to be owned by any one company. Your friends are too important to be owned by any one company.

Finally! They said it!

Comments in reaction to the ReadWriteWeb post highlight Information Cards & CardSpace are not mentioned – I point out in my comment that the work is all connected ant pointed to the IIW conversations about Active Clients attended by all.

Aza open their post with this paragraph:

Identity will be one of the defining themes in the next five years of the Web. Nearly every site has a concept of a user account, registration, and identity. Searching for “sign in” on Google yields over 1.8 billion hits. And yet, the browser does nothing to make this experience better save for some basic auto form filling. The browser leaves websites to re-implement identity management, and forces users to learn a new scheme for every site.

They make these key points following the images they have (you should check the images out)

• Identity is part of where you are, and what you are looking at (Amazon looks different depending on if you are signed in or not). That’s why we put it in the URL Bar.

• For most sites, you’ll probably only have one identity, so login will be a single click or automatic.
• Putting verbs into the navigation bar isn’t new. See Taskfox.
• To increase visibility, webpages should be able to make a Javascript call that opens the login/signup bubble.
• For webpages that want to own the login-process, the account creation simply acts as the ultimate form-fill. For those interested in the evolution of the idea, you can see an early mockup with comments as well as Alex Faaborg’s similiar mockups.

They also make this point…

Chris Messina and others has been advocating for a model which follows the Facebook Connect lead: a single verb, to connect. Once connected, you decide exactly what information to share in an asynchronous manner. Unfortunately this bleeds information — your name is known to all websites which which you connect. We’d like to explore what a connect metaphor in combination with the ability to remain anonymous but connected means.

I agree with the firefox folks. Having a way to do verified anonymity is essential.

“Selective Disclosure” is the name for technologies that do this.

The firefox team should check out Stefan’s U-Prove Technology that may be released shortly by MSFT that acquired it over a year ago -

(seems like Stefan killed his blog when he moved to MSFT..mmm..anyways.)

Firefox folks invite people to get involved here.