I’ll admit that I’ve never really seen a point in Mozilla’s sort of themes-light feature for Firefox, Personas. Sarah Perez at ReadWriteWeb captures exactly why I am not alone in feeling this way but goes on to suggest that may soon change.
Several ideas are under consideration for future development that are as equally meh-worthy as the idea of Personas itself. One stands out, adding the ability to incorporate ambient information into a Persona. What that would mean exactly is still somewhat vague. In other applications, ambient information is typically data that is aggregated and displayed in a highly visual, usually very simplistic way. Think about a widget that changed color from cooler shades to warmer as a stock you are tracking swings upwards in price. That would be a pretty good example.
I like this idea of using subtle aspects of Firefox’s appearance to enrich the information being viewed. I think it would do best for omnipresent information, like perhaps the response rate on your social message stream, or specific to what your are viewing. Imagine a Persona that could alter its appearance to cue you in to the ratio of ads to actual content in a page or the number of inbound links to help you develop a sense of how authority ebbs and flows over time.
In that vein, I see the ambient info suggestion for Personas as part of a very interesting cluster of features that have been explored by the lizard wranglers. It is very consistent with discussions around the semantic web, extracting, sensing and digesting information beyond the mere textual content that makes up even the most dynamic sites we are used to viewing today.