Google is pressing forward with its efforts to speed up the Internet. Early this morning, the company launched Page Speed Service, which is designed to automatically speed up Web pages when they load. The service intervenes between Web servers and users, rewriting a Web page’s code to improve its performance and applying other related tricks.
The service improves on previous offerings from Google. Page Speed began as a diagnostic tool and then as software that developers could install and configure for free. With every step, Google has increased the ease and automation of the service.
The Mozilla Foundation, a nonprofit corporation that makes the Firefox browser, released an experimental tool last week that could dramatically change the way people identify themselves online.
Instead of handing your log-in credentials over to countless different websites, or to a site like Facebook or Google that then confirms your identity with other sites, Mozilla’s BrowserID tool stores your identity information inside your browser. This keeps that data out of the hands of companies that could be hacked, or that may track your log-in behavior for commercial purposes.
Remembering many different passwords is hard enough, and recent attacks on Sony, Citibank, and others have shown that users’ identity credentials are often poorly protected. Mozilla argues that BrowserID would be a safer and more secure way to verify identity, and would give users more privacy.
Mozilla’s system lets users tie one password to an e-mail account of their choice. Mozilla confirms that the address is valid by sending an e-mail to the user with a link that is used to verify ownership. Then, when a user visits a website that supports BrowserID, the site asks which e-mail he or she wants to use. Once the user enters that address, BrowserID checks to see if the user owns that e-mail address, and either verifies him or her, or does not.