Mozilla’s Persona, the organization’s experimental distributed login system that’s an alternative to OpenID and OAuth, is now officially in public beta. Mozilla bills Persona as a “login system that completely eliminates passwords on websites while being safe, secure, and easy to use.” Persona uses your email address to identify you to third-party sites and uses two existing Mozilla services to make all of this work: BrowserID, which handles the authentication and encryption of your data, and Firefox Sync, which takes care of the connection to Mozilla’s servers.
To get started, you just have to sign up here. There aren’t too many sites that currently offer Persona as a login system, but if you want to give it a try, head over to OpenPhoto and try to sign in with your new Persona account.
While Mozilla is mostly known for its Firefox browser, the non-profit has a long history of working on other web-related products and standards. One topic that Mozilla has always been interested in is online identity and using the browser to manage it.
Persona was born as BrowserID in 2011 and changed its name earlier this year (though, just to confuse people, the technology behind the project is still called BrowserID and Personas used to be the name for Firefox themes). The project, Mozilla said at the time, is meant to be a “complete Identity offering from Mozilla: a collection of components and experiences we’re designing to manage the whole of a user’s online identity with our core values of user control, safety, and convenience.”
The Persona team says that it has reworked virtually every part of the system since then and has made the initial signup, password reset, and login experience significantly better. The project currently offers support for more than 25 languages and is, according to the team, “ready for a global audience.”
Developers who want to integrate Persona into their projects can now also access a new and improved API. Persona, says Mozilla, can coexist with existing login systems and should only take a few hours to integrate.