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Is Amazon Silk the Future of Browsers?

Is Amazon Silk the Future of Browsers?

One of the latest tablets from Amazon, Kindle Fire, introduces a new web browser called Amazon Silk. A cloud accelerated mobile browser, I believe that Amazon Silk will prove to be a stepping stone in the development of browsers.

To achieve faster speeds, the browser is leveraging the cloud, specifically, the Amazon Web Services and the EC2 cloud. The speed is so much increased, that a task which is usually performed in 100 milliseconds, will only take 5. But how does this happen? The secret lies on its split architecture. Because tablets are mobile and not as high performing as desktop or laptops, this is the logical next step: keeping the web browsing fast and simple, while having all the elements that consume many resources stored in the cloud.

So what is split architecture? The tasks included in the process of web browsing are split between the tablet and the back end, which is in the cloud. The main systems are on the Kindle Fire, and the additional elements are found remotely on the Amazon Cloud. When clicking a link, the request is being delivered to the cloud, which fetches the elements, optimizes them and loads them to the mobile device. According to Amazon, the cloud functions as a limitless cache where images, CSS, JavaScript are stored for the most common visited pages. This will lead to lighter processing on the tablet.

These back end resources are optimized so that they do not unnecessarily load the mobile device. For example, a picture can have 5 megabytes, but on the tablet it will only load 50 kilobytes, at the same quality. Therefore, you get the maximum of utility and nothing is wasted and you will have more space on your Kindle.

However, this kind of browsing has already sparked a lot of interest and debates. Kindle Fire already had 250000 preorders in 5 days. On the downside, I would like to mention this article: http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20113387-264/amazon-silk-one-step-forward-two-steps-back/ It gives a very interesting point of view regarding the fact that Amazon can predict the user behavior pattern. The browser predicts what kind of pages you might want to read and sends requests in advance and preloads them. The author argues that the company might take advantage of the users’ browsing habits in order to place them the right ads, according to the performed online searches.

I believe that Amazon Silk is an amazing product, very fast, which will greatly improve the user experience of web browsing. It also provides a great model on how to get the maximum from cloud computing resources. I think the future for browsers lies in split architecture. More resources about it can be found here: http://amazonsilk.wordpress.com/  

By Rick Blaisdell

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2 Responses to Is Amazon Silk the Future of Browsers?

  1. I find it strange that I don’t see a word about the Opera browser that has been using this technology for years. The same goes for Blackberry that also uses a split architecture to render webpages for mobile devices. So is this the future of the browsers? Intill today not, only a small percentage.

  2. Definitely some interesting cloud technology in this.
    It seems like the split browser technology is necessary to make a browser work on the low powered Kindle, although the real heavyweights behind the browser, WebKit and Google’s SPDY protocol are not mentioned at all, even in the video.

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