Mozilla Improves Multi-Device Operation With Firefox Accounts

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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The upcoming feature will improve synchronisation, and prepare Firefox for introduction of new user-specific services

Mozilla has revealed the latest feature being tested in its pre-beta Firefox Aurora build – Firefox Accounts.

The service enables Firefox users to easily control their settings and transfer passwords, bookmarks, history, and open tabs on any compatible devices (which could soon include TVs).

While the browser has been able to export certain information for a while, with Accounts the process is simpler, and allows synchronising content across multiple devices at the same time. Improved sync is yet another feature that is being tested in the pre-beta version.

In the future, Firefox Accounts are likely to appear as a part of Firefox OS – Mozilla’s HTML5-based mobile operating system.

welcome-to-sync

More control

According to Mark Mayo, vice president of services engineering at Mozilla, the Accounts service was developed as the company explored ways to adapt its desktop products for mobile devices and the cloud.

“While we’ve worked to offer services that deliver value and put users and developers in control of their Web experiences, we’ve never had a simple way for you to sign up and sign in to access these integrated services across our products,” wrote Mayo on the Mozilla blog.

“Today, we’re introducing Firefox Accounts as a safe and easy way for you to create an account that enables you to sign in and take your Firefox with you anywhere. With Firefox Accounts, we can better integrate services into your Web experience, like the new Firefox Sync.”

The only thing Firefox users need to sign up for an account is a working email address. Mozilla has a reputation for respecting the privacy of its customers, so the information will never be used for advertising purposes, and will be protected by browser-based encryption.

Besides Accounts and Sync, the latest Aurora build is experimenting with the new user interface codenamed ‘Astralis‘, which includes a more streamlined look and additional customisation options. A new menu now contains the most popular features including copy, paste, zoom, as well as add-ons all in one spot with easy to identify visual icons.

Late last year, Mozilla launched Lightbeam – an ambitious project intended to visualise the way third parties track users across the web, based on crowdsourced web usage data.

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