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Kindle Fire features Amazon's 'cloud-accelerated' Silk Web browser

post #1 of 73
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As part of the Kindle Fire unveiling on Wednesday, Amazon announced its new browser architecture, dubbed Silk, which does some processing and rendering in the cloud to speed up Web browsing.

Featuring what Amazon calls a "split browser" architecture, the "cloud-accelerated" Silk uses Amazon Web services to offer a faster Web browsing experience. The Silk software resides on both the new Kindle Fire, as well as Amazon's servers.

Silk utilizes Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud, or "EC2," which sports latency of 5 milliseconds or less to most websites, rather than the 100 milliseconds seen through most wireless connections. Silk is said to dynamically divide labor between the local Kindle Fire and the cloud-based EC2, taking into consideration factors like network conditions, page complexity and the location of any cached content.

"We refactored and rebuilt the browser software stack and now push pieces of the computation into the AWS cloud," Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said. "When you use Silk -- without thinking about it or doing anything explicit -- you're calling on the raw computational horsepower of Amazon EC2 to accelerate your web browsing."

Amazon noted that constructing cnn.com requires 161 files served from 25 unique domains, representing the complexity of modern websites. An average website is said to require 80 files served from 13 different domains.

Combined with high latency over wireless connections, this can lead to long load times for websites. Amazon says its new Silk browser solves this by sharing the load between the Kindle Fire and its servers.



The retailer noted that many top websites are hosted on Amazon's own EC2 servers, meaning that many website requests will never leave the extended infrastructure of Amazon Web Services.

"If hundreds of files are required to build a web page across dozens of domains, Silk can request all of this content simultaneously with EC2, without overwhelming the mobile device processor or impacting battery life," the company said.



Amazon Silk keeps a persistent connection open to EC2, which in turn also maintains a connection to the top sites on the Web. Similar to Amazon's recommended products on its website, Silk "learns more about the individual sites it renders and where users go next."

"By observing the aggregate traffic patterns on various web sites, it refines its heuristics, allowing for accurate predictions of the next page request," Amazon said. "For example, Silk might observe that 85 percent of visitors to a leading news site click on that site's top headline.



"With that knowledge, EC2 and Silk together make intelligent decisions about pre-pushing content to the Kindle Fire. As a result, the next page a Kindle Fire customer is likely to visit will already be available locally in the device cache, enabling instant rendering to the screen."

The Amazon Silk browser is a feature exclusive to the new Kindle Fire announced on Wednesday. The color touchscreen tablet aims to compete with Apple's iPad with an aggressive $199 price, and will begin shipping on Nov. 15.
post #2 of 73
So Silk uses the Amazon cloud as a proxy that downsamples and caches content. This could open things up for Amazon to modify web sites as in inject their own ads into other sites based on content and other Goggle ad type of processes for their own benefit. Not to sat they will, but they could to support their free cloud and reduced hardware price.
post #3 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

As part of the Kindle Fire unveiling on Wednesday, Amazon announced its new browser architecture, dubbed Silk, which does some processing and rendering in the cloud to speed up Web browsing.

Featuring what Amazon calls a "split browser" architecture, the "cloud-accelerated" Silk uses Amazon Web services to offer a faster Web browsing experience. The Silk software resides on both the new Kindle Fire, as well as Amazon's servers.

Silk utilizes Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud, or "EC2," which sports latency of 5 milliseconds or less to most websites, rather than the 100 milliseconds seen through most wireless connections. Silk is said to dynamically divide labor between the local Kindle Fire and the cloud-based EC2, taking into consideration factors like network conditions, page complexity and the location of any cached content.

"We refactored and rebuilt the browser software stack and now push pieces of the computation into the AWS cloud," Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said. "When you use Silk -- without thinking about it or doing anything explicit -- you're calling on the raw computational horsepower of Amazon EC2 to accelerate your web browsing."

Amazon noted that constructing cnn.com requires 161 files served from 25 unique domains, representing the complexity of modern websites. An average website is said to require 80 files served from 13 different domains.

Combined with high latency over wireless connections, this can lead to long load times for websites. Amazon says its new Silk browser solves this by sharing the load between the Kindle Fire and its servers.



The retailer noted that many top websites are hosted on Amazon's own EC2 servers, meaning that many website requests will never leave the extended infrastructure of Amazon Web Services.

"If hundreds of files are required to build a web page across dozens of domains, Silk can request all of this content simultaneously with EC2, without overwhelming the mobile device processor or impacting battery life," the company said.



Amazon Silk keeps a persistent connection open to EC2, which in turn also maintains a connection to the top sites on the Web. Similar to Amazon's recommended products on its website, Silk "learns more about the individual sites it renders and where users go next."

"By observing the aggregate traffic patterns on various web sites, it refines its heuristics, allowing for accurate predictions of the next page request," Amazon said. "For example, Silk might observe that 85 percent of visitors to a leading news site click on that site's top headline.



"With that knowledge, EC2 and Silk together make intelligent decisions about pre-pushing content to the Kindle Fire. As a result, the next page a Kindle Fire customer is likely to visit will already be available locally in the device cache, enabling instant rendering to the screen."

The Amazon Silk browser is a feature exclusive to the new Kindle Fire announced on Wednesday. The color touchscreen tablet aims to compete with Apple's iPad with an aggressive $199 price, and will begin shipping on Nov. 15.


Bring on the lawsuits from Samsung et al
post #4 of 73
Silk's logging of user browser patterns could set up Amazon as a potential competitor to Google. Or, the HW and OS isn't strong enough to support a native browser.
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post #5 of 73
Nothing new here, people. "Split browsing" has existed since the days of WAP browsers...remember those? Back in the 1990s.

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post #6 of 73
I'm not certain this will be a success (I can imagine lots of issues with funnelling millions of Web requests through Amazon's infrastructure and site compatibility issues, for example), but I have to give them credit for trying something like this. You can tell they are trying to take many pages from Apple's playbook on this: with the exception of the font, that video is very much like the new product video Apple posts to their site; they are focusing on the "it just works" aspect; they are introducing a "proprietary" solutution--SILK is only on Fire for now; etc. All in all, they are demonstrating a willingness and ability to be innovative. Now they have to execute.
post #7 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Nothing new here, people. "Split browsing" has existed since the days of WAP browsers...remember those? Back in the 1990s.

and there are still plenty of mobile providers that offload some amount of transcoding and cacheing (using combinations of proprietary code and open-source stuff such as squid), the WAP-gap still exists (albeit via a different name), and this, like those "solutions", should fail miserably. i wonder what the reality of the performance-hit will be.

and no thanks ... i don't want any service provider diddling in the middle of my browsing.
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post #8 of 73
So, if I download Opera mini or Skyfire I'll get the same experience as SILK?
post #9 of 73
If they're only making 19$ profit on the device, I'm assuming their 79$-annual service fee is going to be mandatory to offset the cloud load.

I'm sure gizmodo's load times will still suck on that device.
post #10 of 73
I mentioned this in the other thread, but I'm not so sure that this 'cloud accelerated' browsing is necessarily a good thing.

I don't know about other people, but I wouldn't want my every move on the internet being tracked.
post #11 of 73
Great. Amazon gets to track everything you do on the net. No thanks.
post #12 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I mentioned this in the other thread, but I'm not so sure that this 'cloud accelerated' browsing is necessarily a good thing.

I don't know about other people, but I wouldn't want my every move on the internet being tracked.

In a way there might be less tracking since the server logs for all of those unique domains where the pieces and parts are coming from will show Amazon's IP address not yours.

The concept sounds interesting though, but on the other hand so much of the internet uses cookies, and now HTML5 stored client data, I would expect the benefits of splitting up the rendering to be somewhat offset by the need for the mobile device to do a lot of the heavy lifting anyway.

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post #13 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I don't know about other people, but I wouldn't want my every move on the internet being tracked.

Your every move on AI is tracked by over a dozen advertising companies. That doesn't seem to stop even a guy like you.

WRT to "other people", they care even less than you about being tracked, and you seem to care very little when it comes right down to it.
post #14 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

Your every move on AI is tracked by over a dozen advertising companies. That doesn't seem to stop even a guy like you.

WRT to "other people", they care even less than you about being tracked, and you seem to care very little when it comes right down to it.

Not true. I block everything.

I seem to care very little about being tracked? Um, I care a lot about being tracked, that's why I block everything. Who are you to tell me what I care about?
post #15 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I don't know about other people, but I wouldn't want my every move on the internet being tracked.

I like you Apple ][ you're sarcastic just like me!
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post #16 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by bullhead View Post

Great. Amazon gets to track everything you do on the net. No thanks.

Well, apple tracked everywhere I've been driving to and walking so... this can't be any worse.
post #17 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickmccally View Post

Well, apple tracked everywhere I've been driving to and walking so... this can't be any worse.

\

(filler)
post #18 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I mentioned this in the other thread, but I'm not so sure that this 'cloud accelerated' browsing is necessarily a good thing.

I don't know about other people, but I wouldn't want my every move on the internet being tracked.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Not true. I block everything.

I seem to care very little about being tracked? Um, I care a lot about being tracked, that's why I block everything. Who are you to tell me what I care about?

block what exactly?

the only way to be completely anonymous is to use a proxy server via a VPN connection .
post #19 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Not true. I block everything.

Can't be done on an iPhone or iPad, at least to my knowledge. That is closer to the comparison we are discussing since the article is about the Amazon Fire and Silk browser.

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post #20 of 73
This will be successful - if there are no hidden fees. While it's obviously a vastly inferior product to the iPad, it will enable minimal tablet functionality (browsing the web and therefore email) at a price that's 60% below Apple's.

Now, I wouldn't buy one because of the size and limited capability, but a lot of people will. If someone was previously willing to pay $179 for a Kindle (or $129 for an ad-supported Kindle), paying $20-70 more for web browsing capability might be attractive.

It's not a surprise that Amazon cut the price on Kindles at the same time. Without that price cut, the Fire would have mostly stolen business from Kindle.
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post #21 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by s4mb4 View Post

block what exactly?

the only way to be completely anonymous is to use a proxy server via a VPN connection .

post #22 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by BTBlomberg View Post

So Silk uses the Amazon cloud as a proxy that downsamples and caches content. This could open things up for Amazon to modify web sites as in inject their own ads into other sites based on content and other Goggle ad type of processes for their own benefit. Not to sat they will, but they could to support their free cloud and reduced hardware price.

Sounds like Opera.
post #23 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Can't be done on an iPhone or iPad, at least to my knowledge. That is closer to the comparison we are discussing since the article is about the Amazon Fire and Silk browser.

That's true. If I'm browsing with my iPad, I don't think that there's a way to do that yet, AFAIK.
post #24 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrike View Post

So, if I download Opera mini or Skyfire I'll get the same experience as SILK?

Quote:
Originally Posted by grub View Post

Sounds like Opera.

Both of you would be basically correct.
post #25 of 73
This should hasten the demise of flash.
post #26 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by katastroff View Post

If they're only making 19$ profit on the device.....

They're not.

Please understand the difference between 'gross margin' and 'profit.'
post #27 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickmccally View Post

Well, apple tracked everywhere I've been driving to and walking so... this can't be any worse.

Past versus future.
post #28 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by bullhead View Post

Great. Amazon gets to track everything you do on the net. No thanks.

Your ISP is already doing that in case the government comes along at a later date and wants to know what you have been up to. So you are okay with that but are concerned about Amazon?

-kpluck

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post #29 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I mentioned this in the other thread, but I'm not so sure that this 'cloud accelerated' browsing is necessarily a good thing.

I don't know about other people, but I wouldn't want my every move on the internet being tracked.

Sounds like you're trying to convince yourself of SOME reason not to like this thing. No surprises.

The fact is you're probably not doing anything you need to hide anyways.

It's not like there's some evil looking FBI agent in a dark room giggling as he monitors you on the web or something...
post #30 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by kpluck View Post

Your ISP is already doing that in case the government comes along at a later date and wants to know what you have been up to. So you are okay with that but are concerned about Amazon?

-kpluck

It's not a legitimate concern. They're just trying to find reasons to bash this thing.
post #31 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickmccally View Post

Well, apple tracked everywhere I've been driving to and walking so... this can't be any worse.

Wrong. I would go into detail on what actually was going on with iPhone "tracking" but since that information is already out there and you don't seem to understand what was going on I doubt having me explain it again would help.

-kpluck

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post #32 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Can't be done on an iPhone or iPad, at least to my knowledge. That is closer to the comparison we are discussing since the article is about the Amazon Fire and Silk browser.

Obviously Apple ][ never uses an iOS product to surf the web. From that, he concludes that ...
post #33 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Silk's logging of user browser patterns could set up Amazon as a potential competitor to Google. Or, the HW and OS isn't strong enough to support a native browser.

This is what I was going to comment on. It seems as though we are getting web based companies releasing services for us that are really disguised attempts to get more of our data or usage patterns to sell to advertisers. Google is the master at this, considering that they have nothing to sell, and almost everything they have aimed at us is "free". of course, they track everything we do and sell that. Now Amazon is beginning to do that as well. There is no way they are going to make any major profit on these new devices by selling them, unlike how Apple makes its money through selling hardware.

The problem is that there is no way that Amazon can guarantee that customers will buy enough from them through these "tablets" to earn them a profit from their sale. So they have to resort in other methods. Tracking everything we do is one of those methods.
post #34 of 73
Split browsing like my Palm Treo 650 used to do!
post #35 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Silk's logging of user browser patterns could set up Amazon as a potential competitor to Google. Or, the HW and OS isn't strong enough to support a native browser.

amazon hosts most of the content in their cloud anyway, so why not do something like this for the performance boost

this is apple's Achilles's heel. their cloud or backend or whatever you call it infrastructure is the worst outside the clone android tablet makers
post #36 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

In a way there might be less tracking since the server logs for all of those unique domains where the pieces and parts are coming from will show Amazon's IP address not yours.

The concept sounds interesting though, but on the other hand so much of the internet uses cookies, and now HTML5 stored client data, I would expect the benefits of splitting up the rendering to be somewhat offset by the need for the mobile device to do a lot of the heavy lifting anyway.

Considering that every website can know what computer is entering their site, it seems as though Amazon, which knows who purchased each of their devices, as they are registered back to Amazon, will easily be able to know exactly who is asking for what every time.
post #37 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

Your every move on AI is tracked by over a dozen advertising companies. That doesn't seem to stop even a guy like you.

WRT to "other people", they care even less than you about being tracked, and you seem to care very little when it comes right down to it.

No, that's not true. You would have to click on one of those for that to happen. AI can't track where people go from this site, only that people come here, and that alone isn't telling advertisers anything other than they are here.
post #38 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

amazon hosts most of the content in their cloud anyway, so why not do something like this for the performance boost

this is apple's Achilles's heel. their cloud or backend or whatever you call it infrastructure is the worst outside the clone android tablet makers

The performance boost appears to be required because these are low end devices. Even the Fire's dual core CPU is outdated. But tracking users buying patterns and browsing patterns is very valuable. As with Google, we are becoming their product to sell.
post #39 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

amazon hosts most of the content in their cloud anyway, so why not do something like this for the performance boost

this is apple's Achilles's heel. their cloud or backend or whatever you call it infrastructure is the worst outside the clone android tablet makers

There are definitely pros to these server-side browsers — like smaller transmitted data sizes to render a page and the ability to display Adobe Flash without heavy local processing — but there are plenty of cons, too. Personally I haven't missed Adobe Flash on the iPhone and have been impressed with Safari on iOS (save for iPhone OS v2.0 to 2.2) that my evaluation of the server-side browser on the iOS App Store have been short lived.
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post #40 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

this is apple's Achilles's heel. their cloud or backend or whatever you call it infrastructure is the worst outside the clone android tablet makers


But, but ... They spent at least a Zillion dollars on their new Data Center and now they have iCloud. You are spouting heresy.
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