Firefox personas now known as background themes

Since Mozilla announced Mozilla Persona as Mozilla’s offering for all online identity related services and technologies, it has also decided to rename former Firefox personas (images used as toolbar backgrounds) to background themes.

The move attempts to label the feature with a more descriptive name (something personas never really did), and serve as an introduction to Firefox’s complete themes, the ones we currently know and involve modifying icons, widgets and text in addition, at the same time.

While reusing a term within any ecosystem is an obvious formula for confusion, Mozilla is pretty confident the risk of it is worth the gain in simplification for future users of the feature and Mozilla’s identity system.

By the way, have you checked the personas background themes section in Mozilla Add-ons, lately? It has grown a very large collection of beautiful pieces to suite your taste and mood.


Mozilla Persona, your online identity

Mozilla has introduced its online identity offering: Mozilla Persona, “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.”, reads the official announcement.

Mozilla Persona will use BrowserID protocol for identification purposes but, based on its description, it will most likely include other online data like that browser generated: passwords, forms, history, bookmarks, tabs, and Firefox preferences, as currently supported by Firefox Sync, and opens the possibility to future Mozilla and third party offerings: e-wallet, web applications, and every other element that could be considered a part of your online identity.

As for personas, the toolbar backgrounds, they are getting a new name to be announced. The Mozilla Add-ons blog called for voting on a new name a few weeks ago, from a few options including: theme, skin, background, and, wallpaper. Expect one of those to take its place soon.

Reusing a semi-brand name is a tricky matter, and a first for Mozilla, even considering out some localization issues that arose in the last weeks, but Mozilla seems pretty confident in the gambit, as it “believe[s] the long-term value of the Persona name will far outlast the short-term discomfort of change”.

Naming matters aside, an online identity offering from an organization committed to users and the open web as Mozilla, is great new for users on all platforms and browsers. As you may know, Firefox Sync, Mozilla’s password, bookmarks, history, and preferences storage and synchronization service, guarantees your complete data privacy, as it travels and is stored in an encrypted state that no one (not even a Mozilla administrator) can access, so it can’t be harvested, or compromised in case of a hack or data leak.