Amazon Silk, or Amazon Browses the Web So You Don’t Have To

The Kindle Fire doesn’t come with a normal web browser, but with something Amazon is calling Amazon Silk, which is Amazon’s attempt at improving page rendering speed, browser responsiveness, and hardware limitations. Amazon has launched a blog about Amazon Silk, but so far the blog just displays a PR-written post and a Googlefied “here’s how cool this technology is” video packed with talking heads and the requisite sketchy diagram animations.

I’m sure it’s more complicated than I understand, but right now it sounds a lot like the type of page and asset caching that Opera uses (used?) for its mobile browser, or that some cable companies use to reduce download times for customers.

Since Amazon Silk essentially routes all of your web browsing on the Fire through Amazon’s servers, it also raises a significant privacy question, but so far today I haven’t seen many mainstream media types address that. After all the dorky excitement over consumer technology dies down, I imagine we’ll start seeing headlines like “Do you trust Amazon with your web browsing?” and “Amazon Silk lets Bezos watch your every move”.

Update: The Amazon Silk Terms and Conditions agreement mentions that you might have the option to turn off the Amazon server caching and browse the web as you normally would, but since the word “generally” pops up several times in that section, I don’t think Amazon is making any legally enforceable guarantee to absolute privacy. (And that’s if you can turn off the Silk functionality on the Kindle Fire at all—there’s some confusing wording in the Terms that suggests the Silk browser may be on a “computer” instead of the Fire tablet when this feature is offered.)

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