Mozilla today launched the second beta of its Persona authentication system, which now allows anybody with a Yahoo.com email address to sign up and log in to any Persona-enabled site without the need to create a new account for Persona or a new login or password for the site that uses it. Mozilla plans to add support for additional webmail providers in the coming month.
With Persona, Mozilla wants to get rid of as many site-specific online passwords as possible. The goal of Persona is to ensure that users can sign in to websites without having to set up a new user account and without having to remember a new password. Users simply use their existing email account to identify themselves and the service will automatically redirect them to their webmail provider to type in their password and sign in.
Thanks to the new identity bridging with Yahoo the organization announced today, hundreds of millions of new users can now use Persona to sign in to sites that support this new system already. Mozilla also set up a demo site for those who may want to give it a try.
The Mozilla team, however, also used today’s announcement to stress that Persona is an open system and that “any domain can now become a Persona Identity Provider so users can reuse their existing accounts on any site that uses Persona.” As Mozilla noted last month, Persona is meant to give administrators a lot of flexibility. “If example.com wants to use 2-digit passwords, they can. If they want to use retinal scans powered by your webcam, they can. It’s up to them.”
Adding Persona support to an existing site, Mozilla says, can take as few as 15 minutes. Persona is not bound to any specific browser and works on both desktop and mobile (as long as you don’t insist on using Internet Explorer 7 or below).
With the release of this second beta, Persona is now also integrated into Firefox OS, Mozilla’s attempt at launching a new mobile operating system based on HTML5. The Persona team also worked hard on improving performance and the service now loads twice as fast as the last beta.