Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Amazon Silk Introduces "Silk" Cloud-Accelerated Web Browser

Amazon's new Kindle "Fire" tablet introduces "Silk" -- a radical new "split browser" that accelerates the power of the mobile device hardware by using the computing speed and power of the Amazon Web Services cloud (AWS).

The Silk browser software resides both on Kindle Fire and on the massive server fleet that comprises the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). With each page request, Silk dynamically determines a division of labor between the mobile hardware and Amazon EC2 (i.e. which browser sub-components run where) that takes into consideration factors like network conditions, page complexity and the location of any cached content. The result is a faster web browsing experience, and it's available exclusively on Kindle Fire, Amazon's new Kindle for movies, music, books, magazines, apps, games, and web browsing.

Some other unique aspects of the split-architecture browser:

Lower Latency-- Amazon EC2 is always connected to the backbone of the internet where round-trip latency is 5 milliseconds or less to most web sites rather than the 100 milliseconds seen over wireless connections.

Reduced Transit time --AWS has peering relationships with major internet service providers, and many top sites are hosted on EC2.

Persistent TCP connections -- Silk keeps a persistent connection open to EC2 so that there is always a connection at the ready to start loading the next page. Silk also uses EC2 to maintain a persistent connection to the top sites on the web.

Collaborative filtering techniques and machine learning algorithms -- By observing the aggregate traffic patterns on various web sites, Amazon refines its heuristics, allowing for accurate predictions of the next page request.