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Amazon's New Silk Redefines Browser Tech

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the look-differently dept.

Cloud 249

angry tapir writes "While the Kindle Fire tablet consumed much of the focus at Amazon's launch event Wednesday in New York, the company also showed off a bit of potentially radical software technology as well, the new browser for the Fire, called Silk. Silk is different from other browsers because it can be configured to let Amazon's cloud service do much of the work assembling complex Web pages. The result is that users may experience much faster load times for Web pages, compared to other mobile devices, according to the company."

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No. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37548772)

Opera was doing this YEARS ago. As usual.

Frist?

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37548820)

Yeah, they just reinvented Opera Mini. Boring.

Re:No. (3, Informative)

DelitaTheFridge (912659) | about 2 years ago | (#37548856)

They aren't even the only ones, Skyfire on android/winmo does this as well.

Re:No. (1)

Zantetsuken (935350) | about 2 years ago | (#37548980)

Also, hasn't this been the way pretty much every single feature phone from cellular carriers with a "web browser" worked this way since that capability came out?

Re:No. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549182)

They aren't even the only ones, Skyfire on android/winmo does this as well.

You are in a foreign country. This country is mostly white people, just like the USA. You hear on the news that hostile militant groups (read: Islamic) overseas might hate Americans. Then you wonder, how do they know who the Americans are? Then, you see a family. Every member of this family is morbidly obese. Even the children are little junior lardasses. Suddenly you realize how they pick out who is American and who is not. Fatasses.

Man, can you imagine how much easier Hitler would have had it, if all the Jews and all the Germans who didn't want to be Nazis were as fat and stupid as average Americans? He could have taken over that place in 1/5th the time it actually took him, since he had to dominate able-bodied literate people who knew how to think.

iPhones did something similar (2)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | about 2 years ago | (#37549550)

And I mean the Infogear iPhone [wikipedia.org] from last century.

Potential privacy nightmare (4, Interesting)

sprior (249994) | about 2 years ago | (#37548782)

Nice performance bump for users, and an incredible data mining opportunity for Amazon - who wins more?

Re:Potential privacy nightmare (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37548830)

People who watch tons of porno. Think of how fast it will load.

Re:Potential privacy nightmare (1)

sprior (249994) | about 2 years ago | (#37548908)

Can you imagine what happens when at an inconvenient time someone goes to their Amazon home page and it says "because you like www.clownsboinkingnuns.com we recommend this selection of clown masks"

Re:Potential privacy nightmare (2)

magarity (164372) | about 2 years ago | (#37549038)

Is that site slashdotted or something? I get a page not found error.

They Both Win (2, Insightful)

Gr33nJ3ll0 (1367543) | about 2 years ago | (#37548832)

It's not always lose-win or lose-lose.

Re:They Both Win (2)

sprior (249994) | about 2 years ago | (#37548884)

Reading comprehension is a blessed thing - my comment wasn't who loses, but who wins more.

Re:They Both Win (1)

Infernal Device (865066) | about 2 years ago | (#37549084)

It's not always lose-win or lose-lose.

These days, it's pretty much a total loss for privacy.

Re:They Both Win (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549502)

ProTip: You can't lose something you've never actually had.

Besides, this thing connects through wap's. You can use whatever you want to bypass this feature if you're planning on doing your double secret squirrel stuff from your ereader.

Re:Potential privacy nightmare (1)

Howard Beale (92386) | about 2 years ago | (#37548986)

Ding Ding Ding, we have a winner! And how much do you want to bet that there's a certain three letter government agency just licking their chops to get access to this data?

Re:Potential privacy nightmare (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | about 2 years ago | (#37549098)

A certain three-letter government agency? I suspect that several such agencies would like a peek.

Re:Potential privacy nightmare (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 2 years ago | (#37549370)

When people fear their government more than the government fears its people, it is a sad day.

Re:Potential privacy nightmare (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 2 years ago | (#37549592)

I doubt it. The opportunity to sift through a trillion porn and lolcats visits a day probably isn't as interesting or inclusive as the access they already have, legally and otherwise.

Re:Potential privacy nightmare (4, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#37549166)

You could just as well argue it increases privacy, since Amazon becomes a proxy service. So instead of your 1-page request hitting 10 companies' servers, each of which collects information on you, now they see a bunch of hits from Amazon.

Of course, google probably aggregates information from those ten servers anyway, and Amazon probably sells the information they collect on you anyway, and the government is probably monitoring everybody involved in any case...

Re:Potential privacy nightmare (2)

Dahamma (304068) | about 2 years ago | (#37549378)

Except they also said they were going to proxy your HTTPS traffic by making a connection from their "cloud" to the destination server for you. In some parts they call that a "man in the middle"...

Re:Potential privacy nightmare (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#37549522)

HTTPS can be proxied without being decrypted by the proxy, are you sure they aren't doing that? Or are you just joking? *Nobody* would want amazon snooping on their online banking etc.

Re:Potential privacy nightmare (1)

garaged (579941) | about 2 years ago | (#37549546)

And you and I and the guy with the parent post know that there is no way to proxy AND optimize the traffic without a proper MitM attack to the https traffic, so let's get into the real discussion again

Re:Potential privacy nightmare (2)

Dahamma (304068) | about 2 years ago | (#37549786)

From Amazon's own FAQ on Silk:

What about handling secure (https) connections?
We will establish a secure connection from the cloud to the site owner on your behalf for page requests of sites using SSL (e.g. https://siteaddress.com./ [siteaddress.com.]

Still a bit vague, but not the part about "from the cloud to the site owner on your behalf". But in this case nothing can be assumed - it's their browser, so they can implement the client to cloud connection however they want. Let's just hope they do it securely (even if, unlike real HTTPS, there is no way to guarantee a point to point secure connection, which is enough for me never to trust it enough for my online banking...)

Re:Potential privacy nightmare (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549492)

I had an interview at Google a while ago and I was asked how I would implement a system like this. One of the requirements was to make sure that the web site and advertisers knew where and when the requests originated even when they were returning cached results.. I'm sure that Amazon would have built something like this in. This was a strange design question as I was there interviewing for low-level driver writing and had never done any web stuff. Google's interviewing process has no relationship with what skills they're tying to acquire.

Re:Potential privacy nightmare (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549298)

Another question to ask (other than "who wins more") really is "what are we losing?" "The Filter Bubble" by Eli Pariser is a potentially useful context to look at this "radical" new technology. It does sound very exciting and interesting, but there are questions we are ignoring about what sort of limitations become implicit when the choices we are presented with are based more and more on what have chosen in the past.

Re:Potential privacy nightmare (2)

shellbeach (610559) | about 2 years ago | (#37549518)

Nice performance bump for users, and an incredible data mining opportunity for Amazon - who wins more?

Is it really a performance bump, though? I mean, when have you ever felt the load time for a page accessed through broadband was too slow?

If the Kindle Fire was running on a 33MHz Dragonball and accessing the net through a 14.4kbps modem, I could understand the need for this. But with a dual-core 1.2GHz processor and high-speed broadband, why do we need this? I'm still slightly confused at Amazon using this as a selling point ... (or perhaps it's a case of needing a selling point other than price, and drawing a blank?)

This is a potential method to defear noscript (2)

managerialslime (739286) | about 2 years ago | (#37549574)

Users of noscript have long benefitted from fast loading of web pages as distracting ads pulled from other domains were suppressed.

If entire web pages are "constructed in the cloud" and then presented to users, the additional overhead of ads,
including annoying animation, would once again turn perfectly readable pages into aggravating distractions that
eventually drive readers away. Anyone remember answer.com? AskJeeves? Or cnn.com before noscript?

Bah humbug to this "improvement" in technology.

Re:This is a potential method to defeat noscript (1)

managerialslime (739286) | about 2 years ago | (#37549580)

Defeat! Sorry for the typo.

Prior Art - Opera Turbo (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37548816)

How is this any different from Opera Turbo, which has been out for quite a while now?

Re:Prior Art - Opera Turbo (1)

sprior (249994) | about 2 years ago | (#37548924)

Also the WAP protocol used in the early days of phone web browsers.

Re:Prior Art - Opera Turbo (1)

unrtst (777550) | about 2 years ago | (#37548962)

They didn't patent it (AFAIK). WTF does prior art have to do with it?

And "How is this any different..."? uh, just read about it. Off the top of my head, it's based on Amazon EC2 and ties into that entire network - I'm not intimately familiar with Operas solution, but I doubt they have as much hardware real estate on the server side. Similar? maybe a lot, but it's not the same, and it's still something that will end up being a very new experience and thing to most people.

It's still new tech, even if done before elsewhere. New as in relative to time, as opposed to "brand new" or first time in use.

Re:Prior Art - Opera Turbo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549226)

It's still new tech, even if done before elsewhere. New as in relative to time, as opposed to "brand new" or first time in use.

You keep using that word 'new'...

Re:Prior Art - Opera Turbo (4, Interesting)

magarity (164372) | about 2 years ago | (#37549112)

Opera turbo uses compression via opera's servers. Amazon's thing uses amazon's servers to render. With opera the point is to get around a slow connection on the consumer's side. Amazon's point is to do the render processing on amazon's side. Let's take an annoyingly busy website, for example: http://home.sina.com/ [sina.com] Now this beast can take a while to download and get ready, especially on a low power handheld thing like a tablet. Amazon's silk method should prep all those parts for the displaying device.

Re:Prior Art - Opera Turbo (1)

fluffy99 (870997) | about 2 years ago | (#37549206)

Opera turbo uses compression via opera's servers. Amazon's thing uses amazon's servers to render. With opera the point is to get around a slow connection on the consumer's side. Amazon's point is to do the render processing on amazon's side. Let's take an annoyingly busy website, for example: http://home.sina.com/ [sina.com] Now this beast can take a while to download and get ready, especially on a low power handheld thing like a tablet. Amazon's silk method should prep all those parts for the displaying device.

Um, yeah. So it does work exactly like Opera Turbo does. Opera turbo also down-sampled images to a lower resolution or lower number of colors which helped cut the download sizes quite a bit.

Re:Prior Art - Opera Turbo (2)

DJRumpy (1345787) | about 2 years ago | (#37549234)

You do realize that in order to compress the data, Opera's servers have to render it first? The two technologies are more similar than they are dissimilar. From what I recall, Opera's approach is to pre-render on a proxy server, compress the end result, and send down to the device as a compact binary stream, and Silk appears to be doing pretty much the exact same thing but without any additional compression that I saw mentioned.

In any case, both have to pre-render the page and Opera's approach also removes the bulk of processing as well.

Opera Mini (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37548834)

When you request a page in Opera Mini, the request is sent to the Opera Mini server that then downloads the page from the Internet. The server then packages your page up in a neat little compressed format (we call it OBML), ready to send back to your phone at the speed of ninjas on jetpacks.

Re:Opera Mini (4, Funny)

lostmongoose (1094523) | about 2 years ago | (#37548972)

The jet packs actually slow the ninjas down.

Reads like hype... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37548864)

"While the split browser architecture is not new, Opera having been a player for a couple of years, I find the overall strategy to be an interesting spin on the me-too Android software we have seen so far, and possibly a game changer,"

But Opera is also available for Android, so this is a me-too technology, on a me-too platform - hardly a game changer.

BTW, the CAPTCHA on Slashdot is ridiculously difficult, this is my third attempt.

Re:Reads like hype... (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 2 years ago | (#37548978)

Indeed, it is. Opera is also available on the iPhone. And the blackberry. And featurephones. And Mac. And PC. And Linux. I'm not sure there's any computing platform that it's not available for...

Re:Reads like hype... (0)

siddesu (698447) | about 2 years ago | (#37549236)

arm linux.

Re:Reads like hype... (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 2 years ago | (#37549316)

Opera Mini runs fine on Arm Linux.

Re:Reads like hype... (1)

siddesu (698447) | about 2 years ago | (#37549332)

where do you get it from?

No thank you. (1)

pro151 (2021702) | about 2 years ago | (#37548872)

No trust here.

This is just Opera Mini/Turbo (4, Informative)

Necroman (61604) | about 2 years ago | (#37548888)

Opera released Opera Turbo [wikipedia.org] back in 2009 which does this same thing. As well, Opera Mini [wikipedia.org] , their mobile browser, does this as well.

So this isn't really re-defining the browser, it's just bringing the technology more mainstream.

Re:This is just Opera Mini/Turbo (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549050)

Yea seriously. Opera Mini has done this for nearly 7 years. Before UMTS, and especially before EDGE, it was common place to use Opera Mini on a wide variety of smart and 'feature' phones. Yes, smart phones existed before iOS/Android, incredible.

Re:This is just Opera Mini/Turbo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549052)

No it isn't. You didn't even casually glance at the article.

Opera fanboys.. lol, who would've thought?

Re:This is just Opera Mini/Turbo (1)

Necroman (61604) | about 2 years ago | (#37549190)

Please, explain to me how it differs? I've read over the linked article and I don't see anything amazingly different? It can render locally or on the EC2 cloud (like turbo). I will agree there is the addition of "learning". Is there something else we're missing?

Also, not an opera fanboy here. I tried opera mini when it came out. I'm a FF/Chrome fanboy.

Re:This is just Opera Mini/Turbo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549296)

Opera Turbo was all about compressing when connections were slow, not saving processor cycles for complex content. As far as I can tell, there is no bandwidth saved using EC2, only processor time (and, in turn, battery life). The pictures aren't degraded in quality like they were on the Turbo.

Re:This is just Opera Mini/Turbo (2)

Amouth (879122) | about 2 years ago | (#37549570)

so - if i have a hammer and i use it to nail a chair leg back on and then turn and use it to nail a table leg back on i've "refined" what?

so Opera's reason for doing this was to conserve bandwidth (image compression was only part of it) the other large but was the overhead of the requests and also the optimization of space in the transmission.

Amazon's is to optimize the data prior to the device.

they both do the same thing with minimally different options - so yes Amazon did what Opera has been doing for years. (FYI Opera mini always had an option to disable image compression)

Re:This is just Opera Mini/Turbo (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#37549560)

Opera fanboys.. lol, who would've thought?

If you didn't know Opera had fanbois, you've never participated in a Slashdot discussion about any browser tech before.

Re:This is just Opera Mini/Turbo (1)

Excelsior (164338) | about 2 years ago | (#37549068)

And the TMobile Sidekick by Danger (now Microsoft) did it many years before Opera. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Re:This is just Opera Mini/Turbo (1)

mobets (101759) | about 2 years ago | (#37549404)

AOL did it with images back in the days of dial-up. I was confused by the low quality pictures the first time I saw it while visiting relatives.

Re:This is just Opera Mini/Turbo (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549232)

Also, don't forget Skyfire and DeepFish. Both did the heavy lifting on backend servers and used a lightweight client on the mobile device. I don't see how Silk is redefining anything here.

Re:This is just Opera Mini/Turbo (1)

aaronszy (1752850) | about 2 years ago | (#37549396)

What Amazon is describing is something entirely different. They aren't just compressing the content, they actually render of the page remotely through their EC2 service. The bottleneck for web browsing on small devices like phones/tablets is often in the render time instead of the transfer time. Assuming you have a decent wireless connection, this should do a lot more to improve your web browsing experience than just content compression would.

Re:This is just Opera Mini/Turbo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549444)

That's what Opera Mini does. The page is rendered, then you get a picture of said page. That's why it doesn't work with hardly any dynamic content, and Amazon's Slik probably won't either. I doubt such a browser will be accepted in the tablet space.

Re:This is just Opera Mini/Turbo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549486)

Opera mini has done this 7+ years back. It was rebranded Turbo for the Desktop.

Re:This is just Opera Mini/Turbo (5, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#37549496)

You're absolutely correct that the basic "innovation" here is exactly what Opera Mini (note, not Turbo - specifically Mini) has done for ages. So all talk about "redefining the browser tech" is pure marketspeak, and both the submitter and the editor should be ashamed of spinning it the way Amazon PR wanted them to.

However, there is one crucial difference with Mini here: it also does work as a full-fledged local browser. Mini always does layout and other optimizations "in the cloud", and fetches the result. That's why it's so bad at JS, Flash, HTML5 etc - if it's something that has to run locally, it's not supported. Here, they are transparently offloading work on the server, but when there is something in the page that cannot be handled well that way - or when the server is not available - it gets rendered locally, same as in any other browser. So it's supposed to be completely transparent to the user, unlike Opera.

Of course, we haven't actually seen how well that it all works in practice, and I'll reserve my judgement until then. It'll be interesting to sniff traffic and see how much actually gets preprocessed; right now my suspicion is that on any script-heavy website, it'll mostly just do compression.

Mandy Rice-Davies comments ... (1)

Kittenman (971447) | about 2 years ago | (#37548898)

From TFA "The result is that users may experience much faster load times for Web pages, compared to other mobile devices, according to the company."

And to paraphrase the immortal words of Mandy Rice Davies - they would say that, wouldn't they.

Opera Mini (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37548900)

Did Amazon just invent Opera Mini?

Is this really new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37548902)

I remember hearing about server-side rendering in the early days of internet-connected PDAs. Anyone know the specifics?

Opera? (1, Redundant)

nine-times (778537) | about 2 years ago | (#37548916)

Didn't Opera do something similar, where they rendered the web pages on their own server and then passed it to their mobile browsers in an optimized form?

Re:Opera? (5, Funny)

POWRSURG (755318) | about 2 years ago | (#37549014)

You're missing the major difference between what Opera did and what Amazon is doing. Opera did the rendering on their own server, while Amazon does it in the cloud. Totally different.

Re:Opera? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549124)

You're missing the major difference between RENDERING FOR SLOW PROCESSORS and COMPRESSING FOR SLOW CONNECTIONS.

But hey, you got in a plug for Opera and a random anti-"cloud" joke, so who cares I guess.

Re:Opera? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549258)

Opera Mini renders for slow processors (packages the rendered content in a formal called OBML).
Opera Turbo compresses for slow connections.

I think the parent's sarcasm is justified. You're missing a vital piece of information.

Re:Opera? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549274)

Not sure if trolling or just stupid...

Re:Opera? (3, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#37549568)

Not sure if trolling or just stupid...

He was engaging in an obscure practice known as humor [wikipedia.org] .

Radical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37548920)

This is not radical. It's a proxy. Really, wtf has slashdot become?

Preview Edit: I guess the captcha knows the answer best. "Fibrous" was my captcha word...

Move along (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37548928)

Similar to operas 'render on server' browsers for mobile devices.

Brilliant. When will they open source it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37548936)

It's a great paradigm, even if it feels like it's harkening back to an X "thin" server...

So uh...when will they be releasing this so I can run it on my own server since I don't trust theirs further than I can throw a data center...

Just because I don't trust them doesn't mean I wouldn't love to toss this up on a coloted server. Or for that matter even my guruplug on a comcast connection.

Heck, I'd /even/ be willing to save the storage it on EC2. After running full disk crypto over a network attached block device...

Re:Brilliant. When will they open source it? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37548950)

Never you fucking freetarded scum.

Re:Brilliant. When will they open source it? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549282)

That's not what your fat mum said. That greasy nasty bitch never saw a dripping dick she wouldn't immediately stick up her slack cunny. Fucking whore.

Yo dawg... (1)

Lanteran (1883836) | about 2 years ago | (#37548944)

We heard you like the cloud, so we put the cloud in your cloud so you can swear while you disconnect!

Palm VII (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549006)

...did something similar back in 1998 or so. The Palm VII browser sent its requests to servers running in a data center. The servers fetched the page data, reformatted it for the Palm VII screen, compressed it, and sent it back down to the Palm VII. Isn't that the gist of what Silk does?

WebTV did something similar a few years earlier, reformatting Web pages so that they looked good on a TV screen, but I'm not sure if that happened on a proxy or on the device itself.

I don't want to take away from the work that Amazon is doing for Silk and in its data centers. I'm sure they spent a lot of time on it, and it's not as simple as it sounds. But the general idea doesn't seem to be as new as what they seem to be making it out to be.

How exactly is this redefining? (3, Informative)

SirDrinksAlot (226001) | about 2 years ago | (#37549064)

This is ridiculously old technology. Just about every other mobile browser does this now other than maybe IE on Windows phones and Safari on IOS. BlackBerry's have been doing this since 2005, as someone else mentioned Opera has had it since 2009, Bolt Browser has this feature as well. So I am to believe that a browser technology that's been around for 6 years is redefining browsers now? Way to grab on to an old feature and herald it as something new and ground breaking.

Re:How exactly is this redefining? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549424)

They're also redefining book readers. No other company has ever put out an inexpensive, android based tablet with lower specs than an iPad, but also smaller size, geared towards reading books and watching movies.

Re:How exactly is this redefining? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549544)

I hope you were being sarcastic.

Offline Access? (0)

marciot (598356) | about 2 years ago | (#37549120)

The problem with a cloud solution is that you can't use it offline. What if I want to surf the web away from any WiFi access points or the cellular network?

Re:Offline Access? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549146)

I assume you are making a joke?

Re:Offline Access? (2)

amRadioHed (463061) | about 2 years ago | (#37549198)

What magical browser do you use that allows you to surf the web without any network connection?

Re:Offline Access? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about 2 years ago | (#37549290)

Funny enough, there are several solutions for this.

Re:Offline Access? (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | about 2 years ago | (#37549344)

Such as? Sure you can locally cache files but browsing in such a limited way isn't exactly what comes to mind when I think of "surfing" the web.

Re:Offline Access? (2)

siddesu (698447) | about 2 years ago | (#37549260)

You can check if Avant-go is still around.

silk browser new tech? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549122)

I'd swear that Opera Mini revolutionized the whole server-side compression and rendering thing. Maybe people just don't like remembering Opera?

http://www.opera.com/mobile/specs/

Re:silk browser new tech? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#37549536)

I use Opera Mini on a shitty little LG phone. Works quite well, I can even post to Slashdot from it.

Amazon Silk + SSL = MITM? (5, Insightful)

Kupo (573763) | about 2 years ago | (#37549184)

Cross posting from my old comment [slashdot.org] . As per their help [amazon.com] :

What about handling secure (https) connections?
We will establish a secure connection from the cloud to the site owner on your behalf for page requests of sites using SSL (e.g. https://siteaddress.com/ [siteaddress.com] ).

So essentially, they become the man-in-the-middle so they can better cache your HTTPS content? And their browser is programmed to show this is acceptable/secure... What kind of privacy implications does this introduce? Even if their privacy policy says they won't use the data maliciously, cloud computing isn't a bullet-proof system (i.e., leaks, hacking incidents, etc.). Call me paranoid, but if I read this right, this sounds like a frightening idea.

Re:Amazon Silk + SSL = MITM? (1)

nullchar (446050) | about 2 years ago | (#37549460)

Agreed. Proxies (like the Silk browser uses, even if fancy like Opera's OBML) *shouly* only proxy/format plain HTTP data. Any HTTPS connections *must* go direct from device to server: end-to-end.

I hope the browser displays a warning every time if it truly proxies HTTPS content! (And iconally shows the 'broken padlock' or jolly rodger.)

Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549204)

That whole fucking 2 seconds was killing me

seriously were not running 486's here aside from slashdots javabloat every other site does not suck on modern machines, hell if you can stand not pissing you pants even slashdot only takes about a min on a 300mhz PPC

you add riddled fucktards

Re:Good (2)

shellbeach (610559) | about 2 years ago | (#37549576)

That whole fucking 2 seconds was killing me

seriously were not running 486's here aside from slashdots javabloat every other site does not suck on modern machines, hell if you can stand not pissing you pants even slashdot only takes about a min on a 300mhz PPC

So long?? It takes less than a minute on a Cyrix P-166 running firefox 1.0 and Win95 (yeah, baby!) (don't laugh -- it's the only machine we've got at work that still has ISA slots, which we need for a bit of equipment ....)

But I agree wholeheartedly with the point. Why would anyone wish to jeopardise their privacy to save a few seconds (max) of waiting for a webpage to load? The fact that Amazon can use this as a selling point is a sad statement on current attitudes to privacy.

You guys seem to be forgetting the pre-fetching (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549262)

Everyone talking about how "Opera did it first" don't seem to be taking into account the pre-loading that Silk does. Whenever you visit a page with Silk not only does it fetch everything and pre-render it before sending it to your device. It also uses its algorithms to know which links you'll most likely click on (based on what others have clicked on) and starts pre-fetching that data so if/when you click on the link it'll take even less time to load.

Unlike other pre-fetching technology that had no intelligence built in this sounds very awesome.

Re:You guys seem to be forgetting the pre-fetching (1)

shellbeach (610559) | about 2 years ago | (#37549596)

It also uses its algorithms to know which links you'll most likely click on (based on what others have clicked on) and starts pre-fetching that data so if/when you click on the link it'll take even less time to load.

Unlike other pre-fetching technology that had no intelligence built in this sounds very awesome.

So not only does Amazon see all the data I'm loading, but they keep a record of it too??? What could possibly go wrong here?

will work with online apps (0)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#37549270)

When I first saw the specs, I though this would be a great tool for 8-12 education. It is obviously a good reading tool. The lack of camera means that a source of massive time suck is no longer an issue. Ditto for the mic. Depending on how rugged it is built, it could be the minimal machine that education needs. Of course the media consumption model might be an issue, but we can't have anything.

Upon further reading, I am became interested in whether the browser would render online apps like Google Docs. It runs flash so it should run the simulations for stuff like physics and electronics. I hope that the browser is good, as this is the only thing that kept me from buying a Kindle. My feeling is that, since Amazon pays 3g, they will sacrifice the web browser to minimize costs. I would be nice if Fire with WiFi could load a more standard browser.

"Silk is different from other browsers" except... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549348)

  • Opera (both Opera Mini and the Turbo option on desktop Opera)
  • Skyfire
  • Bolt
  • Blazer

And probably more that I'm not aware of.

Not sure how long this will be useful (if at all). (2, Informative)

SexyKellyOsbourne (606860) | about 2 years ago | (#37549400)

Basically, what this service does is make a "google maps" version of the webpage -- cutting pages up into tiles (like the Nintendo NES did) and streaming them over a wireless connection from their reserved-for-holidays EC2 data centers. Some localized bastardization is involved, but the "google maps" img tiling is the basis of it.

A quick wget of the cnn.com front page yields 2.10 MB of data. And yes, it's less to tile it -- a screenshot at 1400x900, for about 40% of the page, converts into a lossless PNG file for about 700K of data. A lossy but usable 90-quality JPEG is around 350K. The processing time and RAM to bit blit that client-side of course will be a lot less than a modern ACID 2/3 browser would require.

But as sites become more dynamic, the response time to constantly stream pixels won't be worth it. And a lot of sites rely on being dynamic -- view the HTML source on Facebook some time, it's almost all JS. Even slashdot (famous for being HTML3 well into the 2000's) now feeds its stories dynamically with javascript and HTML5.

This isn't "redefining browser tech," it's probably a stopgap measure for their current market-undercutting $199 tablet processor. Anything JS/HTML5 runs fine on my dated Athlon X2 laptop on Chromium or Iceweasel, and that kind of speed will easily be in tablets in 1-2 years. Amazon says Fire is "dual core" but it's probably skimpy CPU-wise and/or RAM-wise. Or maybe their attempt to reinvent the wheel by rolling their own browser engine under NIH syndrome instead of using Webkit or Gecko just turned out badly.

Re:Not sure how long this will be useful (if at al (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549464)

If Onlive can stream a whole game (fullscreen updates) with low enough latency for it to be playable, then I'm sure that it can work for a web page. This is more about rendering time. In 1-2 years tablets will be able to easily render todays webpages. But in 1-2 years webpages will be totally different to the way they are now.

Re:Not sure how long this will be useful (if at al (1)

node 3 (115640) | about 2 years ago | (#37549514)

This is more about rendering time. In 1-2 years tablets will be able to easily render todays webpages.

Tablets can already easily render web pages today.

Re:Not sure how long this will be useful (if at al (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549482)

You didn't read the article, did you...?

Re:Not sure how long this will be useful (if at al (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549538)

They use webkit, the processor seems to be on par with the iPad2 or modern android tablets, it seems to me that the greatest gain comes from not having to do lots of http requests.
Even opera mini is not sending a stream of pixels, i can see this from zooming in and out and seeing the text reflow.

Re:Not sure how long this will be useful (if at al (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549584)

Or maybe their attempt to reinvent the wheel by rolling their own browser engine under NIH syndrome instead of using Webkit or Gecko just turned out badly.

You had me convinced you knew what you were talking about right up until the very end. Amazon did use Webkit. And just like that everything else you said is suspect too.

Re:Not sure how long this will be useful (if at al (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549662)

Except Amazon Fire has a 1.2GHz processor under the hood, so it should hold up to a large number of pages.

Granted, the ones with fancy animations and such aren't going to hold up well... but then again, nor is streaming said animations.

Re:Not sure how long this will be useful (if at al (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37549678)

Undercutting? The OMAP 4430 SoC in the Kindle Fire isn't a slouch. It's probably faster than any mobile device you own.

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