Updates to Silk

We wanted to make sure you saw some of the updates we have made to Amazon Silk over the last couple of months that make it easier and faster for you to browse the web.

We released a new design for Amazon Silk that makes it more convenient to add and find bookmarks, and access articles in your Reading List. We also made it easier to get more done by supporting more open tabs at the same time, with better performance. As you use the browser, you will notice that we focused on the details as well. For example, Silk now enlarges text when you choose links that are close together to help you tap the link that you want. Finally, we made a number of improvements to performance and stability.

Here are some highlights from the new design.

Updated Navigation Bar

We changed the color theme for better readability. The navigation bar includes icons for the home page and bookmarks for easy access. We also made the entry point to Silk’s left panel menu easier to access, increasing the size of the hamburger menu icon. From the left panel menu, you can enter Private Browsing, view your history, and customize your browser settings.


Updated Home Page Experience

From any open tab, tap the home icon in the navigation bar to see Silk’s updated home page. Your most visited sites are now clearly listed in a tiled format, with easily identifiable favicons. These changes make it easier to quickly skim the page and find the site you are looking for.


Simplified Bookmarking

We made it easier to bookmark your favorite webpages to access later. When browsing a webpage, simply tap the bookmark icon on the navigation bar to create your bookmark.


To view your bookmarks, tap the home page icon and then tap the BOOKMARKS tab. From this page, you can search, sort, manage, and share your bookmarks with others.


Improved Reading List

Silk’s Reading List feature enables you to save an article for reading later or reading offline. When you want to read an article later, simply tap the triple dot menu icon to the right of the address bar, and tap Save to Reading List.

With our latest update, you can now view your saved articles under the READING LIST heading on the home page. From here, you can search, sort, and delete your saved articles. Unread articles are marked with a blue icon and the number of unread articles conveniently appears next to the READING LIST heading.



Improved Tab Support

To make it easier to multi-task, we increased the number of tabs you can have open, from 10 to unlimited. When you switch between tabs, you will notice that your web pages load faster. We also added favicons (i.e., website icons) to help you quickly identify your open tabs.

Supported Devices

This update has been distributed to the following devices:

  • 2015 Fire Tablets – Fire, Fire HD 8, Fire HD 10
  • 2014 Fire Tablets – Fire HD 6, Fire HD 7, Fire HDX 8.9
  • 2013 Fire Tablets – Kindle Fire HD 7″, Kindle Fire HDX 7″, Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″

To ensure that you have the latest updates, sync your device while connected to the Internet. For more information about software updates, see the Fire & Kindle Software Updates page on the Amazon Device Support site.

We hope these updates make your web browsing on Silk even more convenient. Use the Help section on the Settings menu of your device to give your feedback.

Let us know about your Silk experience!

Announcing Two New Features for Silk: Form Autofill and Save to Reading List

This month we are excited to introduce two new features that make web browsing on Silk even more convenient:  Form Autofill and Save to Reading List.

With Form Autofill, you can store your contact information on your device to save time when filling out forms online. The next time you fill out a form, Silk gives you the option to enter your information with a single tap.

With the second feature, Save to Reading List, you can save web pages to an offline reading list. It’s perfect for saving several news stories or wiki articles that you want to read later without having to keep lots of tabs open. The best part is that the pages are saved to your device, so you can read them without an Internet connection (for example, during a flight).

Using Form Autofill

When you fill in your personal information (name, address, phone number, email, and so on) on a web form, Silk prompts you to save the information to a local profile on your Fire tablet or phone. Tap Save to save the information to a profile.form-autofill-aThe next time you start filling in a form, Silk suggests a profile by showing its name and address under the text box. Simply tap the profile to fill in the rest of the form automatically.


At any time you can view and edit your Form Autofill profiles by swiping in from the left edge of the screen and selecting Settings > Your Data > Saved Autofill Profiles. Select a profile to modify or tap Add in the upper right corner to create additional profiles for work or school addresses.

form-autofill-dIf you prefer not to save personal information on your Fire device, you can turn off the prompt by disabling Form Autofill in the Silk Settings menu.

Form Autofill works on any website form except where the web publisher has explicitly chosen to turn off Form Autofill.

Using Save to Reading List

Add any web page to your reading list by selecting Save to Reading List from Silk’s Page Actions menu.

reading-list-aYour Reading List is accessible from Silk’s Left Panel menu, even when you’re offline. Swipe in from the left edge of the screen to open the menu, and select Reading List to see which pages are saved to your device. Tap the Reading List header to change sort order and switch between list and grid views.reading-list-b

Supported Devices

Form Autofill and Save to Reading List are supported on the following devices:

  • Fire Phone
  • 2014 Fire Tablets – Fire HD 6, Fire HD 7, Fire HDX 8.9
  • 2013 Fire Tablets – Kindle Fire HD 7″, Kindle Fire HDX 7″, Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″
  • 2012 Fire Tablets – Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD 7″, Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ (coming soon)

Save to Reading List and Form Autofill are enabled through an update for Amazon Fire tablets and phones. To ensure you have the latest updates, sync your device while connected to the Internet. For more information on software updates, see the Software Updates page on the Fire & Kindle Support site.

Try out these new features when you’re buying gifts online or just browsing the web. And don’t forget to use the Help section of your device’s Settings menu to give us your feedback.

Happy holidays!

Private Browsing for Amazon Silk

In response to customer feedback, we are excited to announce support for Private Browsing. With Private Browsing, you can surf the web without saving a record of your visits. For example, if you use Private Browsing while researching travel destinations for a surprise trip or shopping for presents, these sites will not show up in your browsing history when someone else uses your device. Private Browsing is now available on our 2012, 2013, and 2014 Amazon Fire tablets as well as the Amazon Fire phone.

Pages you view during a Private Browsing session do not remain in your browser’s history, cookie store, or search history after the session is over.

Using Private Browsing on Fire Tablets and Phones

Private Browsing is enabled via an update for Amazon Fire tablets and phones. To ensure you have the latest updates, sync your device while connected to the Internet. For more information on software updates, see the Software Updates page on the Fire & Kindle Support site.

Starting a Private Browsing Session

To start a Private Browsing session on Fire tablets, tap the icon on the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen to open the Page Actions menu. Select Enter Private Browsing.

Enter Private Browsing - Tablet

While Private Browsing is enabled, tabs appear in purple and have the word Private after the website name.

On Fire phones, the Private Browsing option is available on the Tab Chooser screen.

Enter Private Browsing - Phone

Private Browsing mode is indicated by a purple shadow on the search bar and buttons.

Ending a Private Browsing Session

To exit Private Browsing on Fire tablets, close all open tabs or select Exit Private Browsing from the Page Actions menu.

Exit Private Browsing - Tablet

On Fire phones, close all tabs or toggle Private Browsing off on the Tab Chooser screen.

Exit Private Browsing - Phone

Silk stores your previously open tabs in the background while you browse. When you exit Private Browsing mode, all open Private Browsing tabs are closed, and the tabs that were open before you initiated Private Browsing are restored.

Downloaded Files

When you exit Private Browsing, Silk gives you the option to either keep or delete any files you downloaded while browsing. Uncheck the box if you want to keep files that you saved to the device while using Private Browsing.

Delete Downloaded Files

Supported Devices

Private Browsing is available on the following devices:

  • Fire Phone
  • 2014 Fire Tablets – Fire HD 6, Fire HD 7, Fire HDX 8.9
  • 2013 Fire Tablets – Kindle Fire HD 7″, Kindle Fire HDX 7″, Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″
  • 2012 Fire Tablets – Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD 7″, Kindle Fire HD 8.9″

Note that although Private Browsing tells Silk not to store data, it does not prevent your ISP or sites that you visit from recording information about activities visible to them. If you are shopping online in a Private Browsing session, keep in mind that sites you log in to may still track your activity and show future suggestions based on the products you have searched for.

Try out Private Browsing the next time you use Amazon Silk, and be sure to leave feedback via the Help section of your device’s Settings menu. Your input is invaluable in helping us decide which features to bring to Amazon Silk in the future.

Keep your eye out for more updates soon!

Flash Video Streaming from the Cloud

Two years ago, Adobe announced that they would discontinue support for the Adobe Flash Player plugin on Android. This is part of a larger trend. In the era of HTML5, many mobile devices don’t support Flash. Site owners have been moving to alternative video formats, but this change is happening gradually. Many popular websites still feature Flash content. So, in response to your feedback, we developed a new solution: an experimental streaming viewer that plays Flash video from the cloud.

The experimental streaming viewer has been available for a little while, but not all of our customers know about it yet. Here’s an overview.

With the experimental streaming viewer, you can view Flash video on your Kindle Fire without downloading any files, applications, or plugins. Instead of streaming Flash video to your device, Silk streams Flash video through a remote server in the Amazon cloud. This gives you fast, intuitive access to some of the most popular video content on the web. Silk currently supports Flash video streaming for a few dozen popular websites, including:

We’ll add support for other websites in the future.

Using the streaming viewer

On a viewer-compatible site, when you first visit a page containing Flash content, you’ll see a message indicating that Flash is detected. Play buttons appear over the video window and at the bottom of the screen.


To start streaming Flash content, just tap one of the play buttons.


You can also go to the menu and tap Open experimental viewer.


A splash screen appears as the viewer loads, and after a few seconds Flash content becomes available. By default, the viewer displays content in full-screen mode, without the borders showing. You can bring up the viewer borders by tapping the options button.


Borders appear along the top side and the right side of the viewer, providing basic navigation features like the home and favorites buttons. To return to full-screen mode, just tap the screen. To exit the viewer, tap the back button.


You’ll return to the original web page containing the Flash content.

We expect the experimental streaming viewer to keep evolving in response to your feedback, so look for upgraded features and support in the future. Happy Flash viewing!

Silk Has a New Look

Since our last major release back in September 2012, the Amazon Silk team has been working hard to make the browser faster and more responsive. A lot of our improvements have happened under the hood, so you may not have noticed the last few software updates. But with our latest release, the browser has a new look!

Based on feedback from Kindle Fire owners, we redesigned the user interface to make the browser easier and more intuitive to use. Among the changes, you’ll find a new tutorial, redesigned tabs, improved browser controls, simpler navigation options, and easier access to our Reading View feature. We’ve also published a Silk Developer Guide to accompany the release.

Our goal with the Silk redesign is to provide a faster, more fluid, and more elegant browsing experience to help customers discover and rediscover the content that matters to them.

Here are some highlights from the new design.

Just-In-Time Tutorial

The first time you open Silk on your Kindle Fire, you’ll see the new Just-In-Time (JIT) tutorial.


The tutorial points out a few key features in the new user interface. For example, the left panel includes links to your Most Visited pages, Bookmarks, and History. The Action menu presents a number of features, including one-button access to share content via email or other applications and a search option that makes it easy to look for specific words on a page. And the Reading View button activates an elegant reading experience, free from distracting links or advertisements.

When you’re ready to close the tutorial and start using the browser, just tap OK.

Redesigned Tabs (and Other Improved Controls)

Silk has a new start page, which opens when you select the Silk browser from the Carousel or when you tap Web.


The start page opens a new tab with an empty address bar, ready to browse. It also shows links to your most visited pages. Our user studies showed that “most visited” links and direct URL entry were the two most commonly used navigation methods in the old Silk interface, so we made them both prominent in this new tab view.


To bring up the keyboard, just tap the address bar.


In redesigning the UI, we also learned that the old tab bar was too flat, making it unclear where one tab ended and another started. Some users found it confusing to switch between tabs, so we changed things up.


The new tabs have rounded corners and more depth so that they stand out more clearly from the background.

The other browser controls are friendlier now, too. We redesigned everything from the new tab and refresh buttons to the text in the address bar.


We think these changes will make it easier to move among pages and open new ones. Silk customers browse the web in all sorts of unique ways, so it’s important that the navigation be simple, intuitive, and highly usable. That’s the philosophy behind this redesign.

Improved Readability

Silk offers a Reading View that provides an immersive reading experience. The idea is to reduce clutter and minimize visual noise.

Web content is often surrounded by related links, advertisements, and other competing material. With Reading View, content is elevated above the clutter. When Reading View is turned on, Silk loads the body of the page in a reading-optimized, single screen—even for multipage articles. The full page is still available in the background, so you can easily return to a traditional view to see the whole page.

Reading View was available in previous versions of the browser, but some of our customers weren’t aware of the feature. So in our redesign, we made it easier to find.


When you tap the Reading view button, you’ll see the page as follows:


To exit Reading View, tap the X.


We’ve also improved Full Screen view, so that customers can enjoy a simple, uncluttered reading experience in this view as well. To enter Full Screen view, just scroll down the page. Full Screen view still shows links and ads, but you won’t see the browser chrome at the top and bottom of the screen. To exit Full Screen view, tap the nub at the bottom of the screen or scroll down with a bit of acceleration.


Left Panel Menu and Navigation Pages

The new Silk UI features a left panel menu with options that were previously scattered across the browser. To open the left panel menu, either tap the upper-left button or edge-swipe from the left side of the device.


The menu opens in a panel on the left side of the screen. Here you’ll find links to your favorite content: Most Visited, Bookmarks, DownloadsHistory, and Trending Now. You’ll also see links to Settings and Help.


Let’s look at one of the redesigned navigation pages, Bookmarks. You can bookmark a page by opening the Action menu and tapping Add bookmark. Bookmarked pages then appear on the Bookmarks page, which you can view in two ways. If the slider in the upper-right corner of the Bookmarks page is positioned to the left, you’ll see a single column of digest-style bookmark entries.


To switch to a grid view of your bookmarks, flip the slider to the right.


You can add additional bookmarks by tapping Add.

We won’t review all of the revamped navigation pages here. We think you’ll have fun discovering them in the redesigned interface.

Performance Improvements

In addition to a new user interface, this latest Silk release also benefits from performance enhancements to the underlying rendering engine. We have been working diligently to make Silk faster and more intuitive, and we’re creating features to make Silk the best way to discover the web.

Of course, these improvements are just a start. We’re in the early days of Amazon Silk, and there’s plenty of work still to do. Our goal is continuous improvement. With that in mind, we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch and let us know what you think of Silk. You can reach us at amazon-silk-feedback@amazon.com.

A new version of Silk

Psst! Remember us?

Roughly 344 days ago, we debuted this blog to announce the launch of our new browser, Amazon Silk. We originally expected to publish a regular cadence of updates, but it turns out we were way more excited about working on the browser than writing about it! Well, a few of us finally decided to take a coding break over Labor Day weekend to make sure we got the word out on some exciting news.

Today in Santa Monica, we announced the release of the latest additions to the Kindle family, the new Kindle Fire and the Kindle Fire HD. These new devices come preloaded with a new version of the Silk browser. What’s new you ask? Let’s take a look.

Page load speed – On our internal benchmark test, the new version of Silk registers at least a 30% reduction in page load latency as compared to the prior version on the original Kindle Fire. How do we define that benchmark? We run tens of thousands of iterations across a common set of real “archetype” web sites in our labs. These tests are run simultaneously, ensuring that our results are not skewed by variations in dynamic site content.

Improved HTML5 support –The new version of Silk registers twice the HTML5 compatibility score of the original version, as measured by html5test.com. A few of the key improvements include:

  • Improved form and element support – including full support for field types such as keygen, output, progress, and meter
  • Geolocation – for location-relevant web apps and web content
  • IndexedDB – support added for the Indexed Database API, in addition to the previously supported Web SQL Database
  • Web workers – allowing web applications to spawn background processing jobs
  • Web notifications – for sending alerts to end users

Our developer customers have made clear that we need to continue to push ourselves on this front, requesting such features as in-browser access to the device camera. Look for more improvements in this area in the months ahead. And don’t hesitate to add comments on what missing capabilities are most important to you.

UI improvements – Our customers have provided some excellent feedback on their experiences using Silk. Regarding our UI, particularly the new tab view, a couple of common themes have emerged:

  • After even limited usage, the start page becomes littered with screen captures (i.e. images of the web pages you’ve visited). Eventually, the utility of quick access to most visited and bookmarked pages is lost amid the clutter.
  • Intermingling bookmarks and most visited sites in the same view is confusing, with many customers unclear as to what exactly they were seeing on the new tab.

The screenshot below illustrates these issues:











As you can see, the view we provide when a new tab is created in Silk is a mix of most visited sites and bookmarks. In this example we see a bookmark for Amazon alongside a screen capture for ESPN, one of the customer’s frequently accessed sites. The lack of labeling or useful filters on this screen has caused confusion as to what precisely is being presented.

With today’s launch, we’ve introduced a new, more intuitive start page with better navigation elements, as shown below:

Your most visited pages are now clearly distinguished from other navigation options, making the sites you go to most the easiest to get to. We’ve also added simple top navigation to both Bookmarks and History. Besides addressing the obvious problem of intermingling bookmarks with most visited, this new design also addresses a customer experience problem we had not anticipated: how to find and manage browser history. The original Silk UI exposed browser history through the “more options” button, which proved to be undiscoverable for a large swath of our customers. History is now front and center, making it easy to clear out cruft or navigate back to a page of interest.

New features – The new version of Silk carries forward all of the features our customers liked best, including top tabs, full screen browsing, and our Reading View feature. We’ve also added two new content discovery features. The first is “Trending Now” (see the second shelf in the new tab view image above) which alerts our customers to pages that have experienced an unusual increase in their level of traffic, usually a good indicator that the page or topic may be particularly noteworthy right now. We also offer “Selected Sites” (shelf three in the new tab view) a selection of up and coming or otherwise noteworthy sites that our customers might find interesting.

So that’s what’s new in the new version of Silk. We’re excited to get this release out to our customers and hope you’ll let us know what you think.










Introducing Amazon Silk

Today in New York, Amazon introduced Silk, an all-new web browser powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and available exclusively on the just announced Kindle Fire.  You might be asking, “A browser?  Do we really need another one?”  As you’ll see in the video below, Silk isn’t just another browser.  We sought from the start to tap into the power and capabilities of the AWS infrastructure to overcome the limitations of typical mobile browsers.  Instead of a device-siloed software application, Amazon Silk deploys a split-architecture.  All of the browser subsystems are present on your Kindle Fire as well as on the AWS cloud computing platform.  Each time you load a web page, Silk makes a dynamic decision about which of these subsystems will run locally and which will execute remotely.  In short, Amazon Silk extends the boundaries of the browser, coupling the capabilities and interactivity of your local device with the massive computing power, memory, and network connectivity of our cloud.

We’ll have a lot more to say about Amazon Silk in the coming weeks and months, so please check back with us often.  You can also follow us on Twitter at @AmazonSilk.  Finally, if you’re interested in learning more about career opportunities on the Amazon Silk team, please visit our jobs page.


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