Last week I started work on a simple prototype to provide user profile information as part of BrowserID. What is this? Imagine only entering your profile information once instead of on every site you sign up to. Other companies have this goal as well, but their offerings suffer from either a lack of adoption or the user has little control over what data is given to the site.

The goals for providing profile information in BrowserID are:

  1. Allow the user to enter their profile information once.
  2. Provide profile information to sites through a DOM API that can be implemented by browsers.
  3. Keep the user in control over what data is released.

Our approach is to start simple and grow after we gain feedback. The feature as I have implemented it only has two fields, a name and a user's photo. By starting with only two fields, we can start to get feedback on UX and what user's perceptions are in relation to this data.

For sites to get the information, they will have to explicitly request which fields they are interested in. The user will then be shown the BrowserID dialog and will have the ability to deselect fields they do not wish to share. This is useful in situations where a site may request a user's name, email address and photo, but the user is only comfortable supplying their name and email address.

A video on how this early prototype works:

BrowserID Profile Screencast from Shane Tomlinson on Vimeo.

Again, this is early days yet, but please help us make profile information in BrowserID rock! Message our mailing list at or sign up to receive daily updates. Come see what we are up to in the Identity group or visit us on IRC in the #identity channel on