Next-Gen Firefox Sync to use Mozilla Persona for identification
Mozilla is currently working on the next generation of its data synchronization service Sync and aims to release the updated version with Firefox 20. Firefox Sync currently relies on setting up a Mozilla account on all devices running Firefox to sync browsing data such as bookmarks, passwords or the browsing history.
Mozilla plans to improve the experience by switching to Mozilla Persona for identification purposes in the next version of Firefox Sync. It is still necessary to create a Firefox account, but in the new version that is handled by Persona. Existing Sync and Mozilla Persona users get upgrade options to switch to the new version of Sync.
It is however complicated if existing Firefox Sync users want to update. The problem here is that the old and new synchronization options are not compatible with each other. Firefox users therefor need to either upgrade all devices to the new version of sync and thus Mozilla Persona, or stay with the old system and not upgrade. The latter is however only a temporary option since Mozilla plans to retire the old Sync eventually.
Probably the biggest improvement from a user perspective is the way a Sync account is configured on a device. Mozilla Persona users can simply use their email address and password to add another device to the list of systems they want to keep in sync. The current implementation of Firefox Sync requires you to enter a username, password and 12 digit pairing code.
Another negative is that the first implementation won't support setting up a custom sync server.
For now, this means that the new version of Sync will make it a bit easier to set up the service on other systems for new and existing users. Existing users on the other hand will lose functionality to set up their own servers, have to set up a Mozilla Persona account, and make sure that all of their Firefox versions use the new Sync.
What's interesting though is what Mozilla considers adding in future versions. This includes a Windows System Restore like feature to create snapshots of Firefox sync data and the use of third party services to sync data with those services directly.