Biggest story from the Kindle Fire presser: Silk browser

Biggest story from the Kindle Fire presser: Silk browser

Summary: Today's big announcements from Amazon about the Kindle line got folks excited about the new gadgets, but the real story is the Silk browser for the new Fire tablet.

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The frenzy surrounding today's Amazon press event was almost Apple-like, an interesting thing to watch from a company not know for flash. Amazon introduced a new line of Kindle ebook readers, and the much-anticipated Kindle Fire tablet. ZDNet has extensive coverage of this new line of Kindles, but the biggest story of the day is not the hardware. It is the Kindle Silk browser, only available on the Fire tablet.

Also: CNET live blogAmazon’s Bezos unveils Kindle Fire; color tablet computerAmazon’s Kindle Fire; At $199, finally a viable college tabletAmazon’s Bezos unveils Kindle Touch, $99; Kindle, $79 | CNET: Amazon unveils trio of Kindle e-ink readers | Looks like Amazon took back the lead for dedicated ebook readers

Amazon has built its own web browser named Silk, that leverages the company's dominance in the cloud business to serve up web pages to the Kindle Fire as fast as possible. The cloud-based page rendering is not new, Opera has been doing this for some time with the Opera Turbo scheme. Where Amazon differs from what has been done previously is made possible by owning and controlling the cloud system (AWS) in play.

This enables Silk to keep a persistent connection open to the Amazon servers. This eliminates background handshaking common to all web browsers, and is as fast as possible according to Amazon given the very fat pipes AWS uses to the web. In one fell swoop, Amazon just revolutionized mobile web browsing in a way no one else can duplicate.

The company explains how the Silk browser works on both a cloud backend and the local device (Fire tablet) levels, with both used to optimize the web page content as displayed on the tablet. The system is written from the ground up for the Kindle Fire, and while Amazon wasn't showing off the browser at today's press event it should be the best mobile browser in existence, properly implemented.

Amazon has perfected the technology used on its shopping site that can accurately predict what products you might be interested in based on the millions of shoppers it serves. It is bringing this same technology to bear on the Silk browser, and claims it can accurately predict what web site you will want to visit before you leave the one you are currently on. This new site will load in the background, just in case you want to go there next. This is not new technology, but Amazon's experience in this type of prediction should be best in class.

The Silk browser with its hidden cloud backend doing the heavy lifting could be the biggest advance the mobile web ever seen. Amazon has set the tablet space on its ear with the low-cost ($199) Kindle Fire, but with the Silk browser exclusive to its tablet may have left all competition in the dirt. It should make the Fire the best way to consume content in general, and the web in particular, and that is what most people want to do on a tablet.

Topics: Hardware, Amazon, Apple, Browser

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15 comments
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  • RE: Biggest story from the Kindle Fire presser: Silk browser

    That means, if I browse CNN or MSNBC or some other site, it goes to Amazon Cloud servers, store that request/response and render it for me? I think it could be a potential privacy voilation. Don't you think?
    Ram U
    • RE: Biggest story from the Kindle Fire presser: Silk browser

      @Rama.NET

      Privacy in the cloud?

      I'm sorry, but your privacy is much less important than a couple of hundred milliseconds per page, or so they're thinking.
      Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Biggest story from the Kindle Fire presser: Silk browser

        @Michael Alan Goff
        I totally agree with you. This is much bigger sin than Google's voilations of reading emails, docs, storing searches and wifi garbage collection and storing. Like you mentioned on AKH blogs, if I do banking or pay taxes, bills etc, all that information is now stored on Amazon to have it. I know it is too early to talk about it, but definitely it is a bigger voilation.
        Ram U
    • RE: Biggest story from the Kindle Fire presser: Silk browser

      @Rama.NET As with anything on the web, those concerned should just avoid it. Most will love the speed boost.
      JamesKendrick
      • RE: Biggest story from the Kindle Fire presser: Silk browser

        @JamesKendrick

        Shouldn't Amazon be upfront about this about consumers and warn them? A lot of people probably won't think it is any different than any other browser and not know there is added privacy risk.
        bmacfarland
  • RE: Biggest story from the Kindle Fire presser: Silk browser

    And best of all, there will never be an ad blocker for Silk. They can insure every possible advertiser you get every ad they want you to get. They could, also, insert a brief ad between each page load, wouldn't that be cool, how much would advertisers pay for that?

    All your browse are belong to us.

    Think I'll stay away.
    txscott
  • RE: Biggest story from the Kindle Fire presser: Silk browser

    Imagine never being able to clear your cache, cookies, or history and the Amazon marketplace collecting a conclusive profile of your web surfing habits so as to sell you more stuff, and never being able to opt out. No thanks.
    Delvardo
  • RE: Biggest story from the Kindle Fire presser: Silk browser

    I was just thinking how much better browsing the web could be.....I'm so dissatisfied with the speed of my current web browsers....oh wait...nevermind, that was 1998....things are ok now.
    gomigomijunk
  • RE: Biggest story from the Kindle Fire presser: Silk browser

    Got to admit; Having the ability to screen and record every single piece of web data via their server BEFORE you even get to see it IS a very well played move. <br><br>Trying to use words like "optimized" and "accelerated" experience to cover it up may fool some people. One thing is sure thought, they won't be accused of sent user data back from the device to Amazon, because frankly they don't need to be sent back from your device to know exactly what you are up to 24/7.
    RocketPunch
  • Sorry, but when someone brags up a technology

    that they then won't show you, start looking for the blowing smoke.
    baggins_z
  • Mixed feelings persist

    I like the architecture ...<br><br>... but as I pointed out the mistake you made in your attempt at 'the death of the PC has been greatly exaggerated' ... more and more of the PERSONAL in PC is being sucked up to the cloud with every release.<br><br>Wonder how long before we see an equivalent from M$ and Google?<br><br>I'm looking forward to your testing of the new devices: in particular I'd like to know whether Gerwitz's claims about the age and incompatibility of the tablet side of things is warranted. [My bank account is even smaller than yours, so its no good asking for a sub. as you near bankruptcy <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/wink.gif" alt="wink"> Sorry. ]
    jacksonjohn
  • Bigger story still

    I think this may turn out to be a bigger story from the beginning of AMAZON's .com site announcing the new devices ...

    "There are two types of companies: those that work hard to charge customers more, and those that work hard to charge customers less. Both approaches can work. We are firmly in the second camp."

    Apple and now M$ are building up their walled gardens, intending to charge an extra 30% for digital wares ... AMAZON at present appear to be trying to build an even bigger wall ... but with the benefit of reduced costs.
    We are firmly in the second camp.
    jacksonjohn
  • Better be defaulted to off and opt in. No thanks amazon.

    This is actually a big reason to NOT buy a fire. They control your ad experience, your cookie experience, track you, sell that, etc. Plus they make it sound like all these requests and latencies are occuring concurrently when they are. And where does this "in a way no one else can duplicate" crap come from? MS and google have the clouds, the fat pipes, etc. and could easily have IE or the android webkit browsers open persistent connections and do exactly the same thing. And there would be howling all over the web if they did. No I think the biggest thing about the kindle fire is neither the mediocre hardware or the big yawn software, its the subsidized pricing model. If they get largely used for non amazon consumption it could backfire (pun intended). Anyway I think most people will wait for v2 and try to get a 10"
    Johnny Vegas
  • RE: Biggest story from the Kindle Fire presser: Silk browser

    I am a <a href="http://www.elmotaheda-web.com" title="web design">web design</a> professional, and what worries me about silk is not how fast, but how compatible it is with existing standards. A few years ago we had to test new web pages we design to IE and Firefox, now we need to test agains, IE,Firefox,Chrome,Safari and Safari on IOS and Android browsers. Now with this new tech, I am sure it will break many pages, and now we need to add silk to the test suite. I am sick of this. Clients do not understand how expensive it is to test on all platforms and if you do not test, the CEO's children tell him "Dad your web site is broken, see" and hand him their Ipads, and we get to send people to explain in hours that they did not go for the added cost of testing, they tell us, why do you need to test in the first place, why did you not design it right in the first place!!!!!!
    Give us a break.
    ehabh
  • security concerns

    I for one hope all the security concerns are unfounded. Banking and funds transfers are one of the many things I plan to use mine for when it arrives. Am I to understand that there will be no encryption and firewall protection of personal information? How could you use the device to make online purchases without safeguards and from all the posts, that seems to be a main reason for selling this tablet.
    JeffnReno