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Amazon Silk scares me…but in a good way

Dear Reader,

This morning, I watched the live blog of the Amazon Kindle rollout. There were a lot of interesting things shown but the one that caught my eye was Amazon Silk. Amazon Silk is their new browser for the Kindle. I won’t try and explain it, invest 5 minutes and watch the video.

The thing that excites me is that this is a game changing moment. This has far-reaching ramifications for web developers and designers. Old ideas will have to be re-thought and new techniques invested to work with this new technology. This has the potential to be huge.

The thing that just scares the poo out of me is the subtext in the video that to get the most out of Silk, you really need to be hosting your website on Amazon’s EC2. Don’t get me wrong, I love EC2. I think all of the Amazon Web Services are excellent tools. However, this could be dangerous. As late as last April, we got a good feel for what happens when Amazon fails. Some sites were down for two days. The lucky ones were only down hours. The well planned ones though, had disaster recovery plans in place and barely hiccuped.

What if Amazon did actually power most of the web? Too many times, we rush to the next shiny thinking it is going to be great and the company behind it is friendly, right? So there’s no need to worry. *cough*Twitter*cough*

Silk could be amazing, on the other hand, it could be one more vendor lock-in for Amazon. One more reason you have to host your site there and more more hook they have in you. There is a reason a lot of us support open source software, to avoid vendor lock-in and to control our own destiny. Don’t jump on the next shiny until we see all of it. Be patient, wait to see if this is really a Silk purse…or just a sow’s ear.

Until next time,
I <3 |<

3 thoughts on “Amazon Silk scares me…but in a good way

  1. The caching technique smells like trouble. I remember having to call/email ISPs back in the day to get them to flush their cache so update sites would show up. I can see the same issue with images, videos and DNS.

    Secondly, this is a step farther into privacy issues. Basically you are using Silk, but instead of all that information being on your local machine, it’s now on Amazon’s machine, meaning they can mine the hell out of your browsing habits and more. Access to your email and other locked sites as they basically make a copy of the page, then send it to you. My head aches thinking of the privacy issues that can come out of this.

  2. Cal,
    This is a neat video. Silk isn’t new though. There have been plenty of ‘browsers’ that really execute as a service on someone else’s server. They always tout their faster access to the web resources you want, the ability to compress/optimize for the device, etc. etc. This has been going on for at least 8-10 years now.

    Is it a good approach for their device? YES! Is it innovation? No.

    As the video was setting up the history of the browser I was really hoping to blown away by a new idea. Maybe next time.

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