Firefox has thrown down the gauntlet in the race to take charge of your online identity, saying it will soonadd identity-management features to its browser, and hopes at some point to build recommendation services into the browser as well. The move pits the Mozilla Foundation and its open-source model against the proprietary approach taken by Facebook, which recently launched aseries of features that it hopes will convince users and websites to use Facebook profiles as their default log-in for online services, and to implement the social network’s “Like” plugins as a universal standard.
The new addition to Firefox iscalled Account Manager, and it effectively transfers authority over logging in to various websites and services to the browser. Using a single menu in the main toolbar of the browser, next to the address field, Firefox will be able to log a user — or multiple users — into and out of multiple services, and will even be able to generate random passwords for users who don’t want to come up with their own. The service will apparently also support any standard for authentication such as OpenID (or presumably OAuth as well, which Facebook now supports), and is designed to be an open standard.