Kindle Fire Silk Browser Proxying Stokes Privacy Concerns
Originally posted on VoIP & Gadgets Blog, here: http://blog.tmcnet.com/blog/tom-keating/tablets/kindle-fire-silk-browser-proxying-stokes-privacy-concerns.asp.
The new Amazon Kindle Fire will use Amazon's very own completely new Web browser called Silk that leverages Amazon's EC2 architecture to proxy and cache web content for faster performance. You might think of it as something similar to Opera Mini, a former favorite mobile browser of mine, which does something similar. What I liked about Opera Mini on my old Windows Mobile phone was that it compressed images and made pages load faster on slower connections. But as 3G speeds became more prevalent, the need for Opera Mini diminished. So I was initially a bit surprised Amazon was going down this route, but then I thought about it some more and it's actually brilliant.
First, let's look at how it works. When a user requests a webpage in Silk, the request goes to Amazon's servers in the cloud. Amazon will load the webpage on their servers and download all of the page contents in parallel. After grabbing the content, Amazon will send a compiled and compressed page back to the Silk browser that includes HTML, JavaSript, CSS, and images all over a single stream.
Amazon has huge amounts of bandwidth that they can leverage to retrieve page contents faster than the end user's device. Further, since they can cache that content, they can serve it up even faster. Amazon even plans to learn which pages users are likely to load and pre-cache content so it's more readily available. Because Amazon acts as a proxy it can everything you do, which is a power that not even Google or Facebook has. Everything you do on the web, from loading a website, to clicking a link, to filling out a form can be captured by Amazon's proxy servers. While they can use this for "good" by caching content to speed performance, they can also use this for "bad" by sending targeted poltical ads your way if you visit say the Drudge Report, a conservative political news site. You can see where there is going.
I've already stated my reservations about the Kindle Fire, so the privacy concerns adds even more. Perhaps I'm being paranoid, since I did use Opera Mini which proxied my web surfing habits.
Ironically, Google is the one getting shafted here. They built Android with the idea of users using Google search and seeing Google ads for them to build revenue. Amazon's Silk browser mitigates this revenue stream. This is perhaps the first salvo fired by Amazon to take on Google in the mobile space. We may just have an Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Google mobile fight on our hands.
If so I welcome it for the innovation that competition will bring. Still not crazy about the Kindle Fire not having a microphone (no VoIP), no camera, and no 3G, but it might carve out a nice niche due to the low $199 price-tag. And they ould be following Apple's model of releasing a new model every 18 months or so to get people to upgrade to the latest iPhone or iPad. So perhaps Amazon purposely handicapped the features of the Kindle Fire so they can slowly add them into future models.
Tags: android, apple, browser, cache, drudge report, ec2, google, kindle fire, opera mini, privacy, security
Related tags: google mobile, something similar, cache content, privacy concerns, amazon, google
Amazon Kindle Fire - Hot or Not? - Sep 28, 2011
Microsoft front-facing cameras, Skype & Lync Mobile client Coming Very Very Soon - Aug 25, 2011
Twilio, the Cloud-based VoIP/Skype App Enabler - Jul 26, 2011
Apple iOS vs. Google Android - Dec 28, 2010
Facebook Phone? Who cares! - Sep 20, 2010
AudioCodes Adds Mobile VoIP Solutions for Blackberry and Android - Aug 05, 2010
Cisco Cius HD Android Tablet - Jun 30, 2010
Opera Mini iPhone Review - Apr 13, 2010
Textecution Disables Texting, Email and Web Browsing While Driving - Feb 24, 2010
fring Brings Video calls to iPhone and iPod touch - Dec 01, 2009
| Comments | Tag with del.icio.us | VoIP & Gadgets Blog Home | Permalink: Kindle Fire Silk Browser Proxying Stokes Privacy Concerns
[ Back To TMCnet.com's Homepage ]