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Is Amazon Silk Too Good To Be True?

Is Amazon Silk Too Good To Be True?

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There’s lots of news over the last 24 hours about the release of the latest Kindle device (the Kindle Fire) and yet another browser coming to the marketplace.  The Fire will have it’s own browser, named Silk, using the analogy of silk cloth of being made up of many individual threads.  Amazon Inc are claiming the Silk architecture will improve the browser experience.  I wonder if there’s more to this than meets the eye.

First, there’s undoubtedly going to be security concerns that all of your browsed content is going through Amazon’s servers and will be tracked, filtered and analysed.  This is done to “improve the browsing experience” but ultimately gives Amazon access to a wealth of information on your personal browsing habits.  The information would make great content for a retailer to trawl through but on a slightly more sinister angle could expose a lot of your personal information to hackers.  One presumes secure HTTPS connections over SSL will still be secure, but everything else will be up for grabs.

My other thought arises from a comment made on the Silk website (see here).  Amazon are making a virtue of the fact that many websites are on EC2 already today and so latency to their analysis servers will be very low.  Does this mean that Silk offers Amazon an opportunity to cross-sell their EC2 platform to those organisations looking to deliver web content on the Kindle Fire?  It seems like a clever business model.  Host your web servers with us and we’ll get you closer to the user.

I’m not sure my browsing experience is so slow as to justify needing server-based acceleration at this time.  Perhaps it will in the future, who knows.  What I do know is I’ll be making sure I’m typing https:// rather than http:// wherever possible.

About Chris M Evans

  • http://thebackupblog.typepad.com Scott Waterhouse

    Two thoughts… one, you should always use HTTPS anyway. Second, the better solution in this case is not using Silk and if that means not using a Fire, not using a Fire. Personal browsing habits should be regarded as legally equivalent to a trip to the library. The government shouldnt be able to get yours, and no corporation should be storing it (without completely transparent privacy policy and an opt out). Amazon will not be getting my business.

  • Pingback: Is Amazon Silk Too Good To Be True? | Data Storage()

  • Eugene

    Surely the TLS session will be negotiated between the Amazon server and your web site of choice, and then securely proxied to the device. This still does nothing to secure your content against Amazon’s pilfering.

    They re-invented Opera Mini. Yay.

  • http://guldmyr.com/blog Johan

    Hey, maybe http://www.eff.org/https-everywhere (firefox plugin) could be of interest to you.

  • http://www.cloudpropel.com Ragu

    Amazon Silk s so innovative, going to be faster than any browsers with its split browser, compression technology like Opera Mini and studying page characteristics and users’ behaviours but going to fail privacy and security. Anybody who does not believe in Privacy and Security on Silk, they have an option to browse in off-cloud mode. So you have the option to choose the hi-speed cloud or off-cloud mode. Though Amazon uses the same compression technology as Opera Mini, Silk has additional features too. I would go for Silk. – http://www.cloudpropel.com/opera_vs_silk.html

    • admin

      I’d reserve the term “so innovative” until we see it in action and once real world load is on it with 1000’s of users hitting the servers….


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