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1Password, Lion and that new Safari extension


1Password version 3 was recently made available with Mac OS X Lion compatibility, enhanced keyboard shortcuts and, most notably for Safari users, a new Safari extension. The new extension borrows heavily from its Chrome counterpart and represents a departure from the older version. I spoke with Dave Chartier about what Safari users can expect from the current version of 1Password as well a few other goodies.

TUAW: Dave, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for me. Right off the bat I've got to ask you about the re-designed Safari extension, which is available to Lion users and Snow Leopard users running Safari 5.1. It's quite a departure from its predecessor, at least in the looks department. What can you tell me about the new extension?

Dave: With the new extension we wanted to give users a bigger slice of 1Password right in the browser. The goal was to give you access to more of your data without having to open the 1Password app, and yet speed up the login and form-filling experience whether you're a mouse cowboy or keyboard ninja. It is now much easier to flip through between your Logins, Identities, Credit Cards, and the Strong Password Generator, and new users should have a much easier time learning and exploring what 1Password can do for them.

TUAW: I see that the new Safari extension is similar to the Chrome extension, at least in appearance. What motivated the team to bring the Chrome extension's look to Safari?

Dave: Why, it's all just part of the plan! We released our Chrome extension early in 2010. We've been working for a some time towards unifying as much of our extension code and interface as possible, and with the increased pace of Chrome and now Firefox development, we grew more motivated to focus our efforts there in order to improve the update process for our users.

Last November we decided to try out this new interface and extension architecture with our Chrome users and it was a huge hit. We received fantastic feedback, and when Apple announced Lion earlier this year and a number of changes coming to Safari 5.1 for Snow Leopard users, we decided Safari should be the next step.

One of the great features of this new extension is that it will allow us to update it without having to update the 1Password application. Automatic extension updates is a big selling point of Chrome, and now Safari supports it too. In fact, this new version installs as an official Safari extension -- you can open Safari 5.1's preferences and see for yourself.

TUAW: Are there any other goodies that Lion users can expect from the latest version of 1Password?

My favorite goodies (which work for both Lion and Snow Leopard users in Safari 5.1) are all the new keyboard shortcuts, which we highlight on our blog and in a dedicated support document. You can now call the 1Password extension, find a login, tab between your Logins, Identities, Credit Cards, and Strong Password Generator, and view details on every item (including password history!) without touching your mouse.

The ability to view an item's details comes in handy in a bunch of ways too, such as when you need to log into a Flash site. Instead of having to stop what you're doing, open the 1Password app, and hunt for your login there, you can just stay in the browser and open the new 1Password extension, then hit the right arrow key to view your Login's details and copy the password to paste into the form. It's a huge time saver.

Thanks, Dave! 1Password has many fans on the TUAW staff, myself included. Here's to future updates.

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