Part of the Networking and communications glossary:

Silk is the browser that Amazon developed for the Kindle Fire tablet computer. The browser decouples system components so that some reside locally on the device and others reside remotely on Amazon's servers. The goal of this split browser architecture is to create a very fast user experience. Silk supports HTML5, JavaScript, CSS and Flash.

Silk uses the hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) to send a web page request to a service in the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). The service fetches the page from the original source and acts as staging area, pre-processing and compressing page components before holding them in cache for future use. 

Silk then uses a variation of the Google SPDY protocol (instead of HTML) to send the requested Web page from EC2 back to the Kindle Fire.  SPDY (pronounced speedy) is a networking protocol for transporting web content that was developed by Google for Chrome.  To improve speed even more, the Amazon service remains connected to popular websites, reducing the time it takes to negotiate connections.

Silk is considered to be a smart browser because it employs machine learning to anticipate user behavior. If the user is concerned about privacy, he can turn off the EC2 service and use the browser in a standard way.

According to Silk’s Director of Software Development, Jon Jenkins, Amazon picked the name “Silk” because a thread of silk is an invisible, yet incredibly strong, connection between two things. In this case, the connection is between the Kindle Fire and the Amazon Compute Cloud.  

 

Continue reading about Amazon Silk:

Amazon's Silk Web browser adds new twist to old idea

This Inquirer article discusses the security and privacy concerns associated with Amazon Silk.

This was last updated in May 2012
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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