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1Password 3 Beta brings a sweet new interface and Snow Leopard support

Brett Kelly

Most of us have really crappy, insecure passwords. Sure, we tack a couple of numbers or punctuation characters at the end of our cat's name, but that's a far cry from secure -- especially since we also have the equally nasty habit of using the same password on every single site/service/machine/device with which we have regular contact. We're not just asking for trouble, we're offering it a delectable stolen identity sandwich.

As most of us Mac folks know, a solution exists and it's called 1Password. If you've owned your Mac for more than an hour or so, chances are pretty good that you've been admonished to acquire this lovely app (maybe even by more than one person). Several of us at TUAW are big fans of 1Password, and today our pointy party hats are standing taller than ever thanks to the opening of the public beta for 1Password 3.

This new version brings with it a massive list of changes, improvements and new features -- a couple of which have helped me to realize the dream of being able to utilize 1Password data on OSes other than OS X. You see, like many other Mac enthusiasts, I use Windows at work. Obviously, this precludes me from fully embracing Mac-only software like 1Password, but thanks to a brand new feature called 1Password Anywhere, my pain is dulled.

1Password Anywhere allows you to take your 1Password data and open it using any modern web browser. I've tested this with Chrome, Firefox and IE under Windows XP and they all work wonderfully. Your data is still absolutely secure and stored behind the same master password that protects the data in 1Password proper. They didn't spare any detail, either -- 1Password Anywhere looks and feels remarkably similar to the native OSX application. The data is read-only in your browser, but being able to easily the strong passwords and paste them is worth the admission price. The truly enlightened will see the application of a service like Dropbox here -- just move your keychain file into your Dropbox and your passwords are now with you whenever you go.

Gallery: 1Password 3 Beta | 5 Photos

Speaking of look and feel, 1Password 3 also shows off an awesome new interface, completely redesigned to help improve the user experience and help you find what you need quickly and easily. One of my favorite bits about this new UI is, after storing a login for a website, the app goes out and grabs a screenshot of the page and a copy of the site's favicon to make it even easier to find the info you want.

There are plenty of other visual enhancements, particularly with respect to the brand new Software section, an ideal home for all of your various software license keys, serial numbers, etc. These, as well as all other data types in 1Password 3, also support file attachments. This is especially handy for Software items because more and more companies are abandoning the idea of the traditional serial number and going with a proprietary license file. File attachments are copied into the 1Password database and encrypted just as thoroughly as all of the other data you give it, so rest easy.

The last improvement that has me really excited is the new syncing interface (you knew you could sync 1Password with your iPhone, right?). Syncing is easier than ever and 1Password 3 offers the ability to sync only specific folders with your mobile device. If I only use a few of my stored logins and secure notes while on the go, I don't need to also tote around my family's social security numbers as well (even though they're totally secure!).

The number of changes included in this beta release is too lengthy to cover in a modest blog post; you can view the complete list of what's new in 1Password 3, including full Snow Leopard compatibility. Also, I'd be remiss if I forgot to mention the Early Bird special going on at the Agile store right now, which will get current 1Password owners a full version 3 upgrade for $20 (which is crazy good deal).

I can't overstate how slick and useful this new version is, particularly because of 1Password Anywhere. If you're ready to get serious about password security, you owe it to yourself to check out this beta. New user licenses and upgrades are available at the Agile Web Solutions store and the companion iPhone app is on sale now in the App Store for $4.99US.

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