Amazon’s new Silk browser bundled with its new Kindle Fire will leverage it’s own servers for browser proxying meaning that all the websites you surf will go through the company’s cloud-based servers. Although browser proxying is not new, it has been used in the Skyfire and other browsers. Its general benefit is allowing web sessions to speed up and providing mobile browsers access to content incompatible with the browser – such as Adobe Flash.
TMC’s Tom Keating has more on the privacy concerns and after reading his thoughts I realize just how fast product subsidization is evolving. You see yesterday I explained Amazon is subsidizing its tablets via Amazon Prime and cloud-computing services but now it seems Amazon will also have access to the sites you browse allowing its suggestion engine to to potentially use this data to better target products which suit your interests.
While privacy advocates may be up in arms, the reality is we sell our privacy for free services virtually every day when we use popular web portals, online email and a slew of other services such as browser toolbars. There really is no such thing as a free lunch and your web surfing and search habits have value.
To me Amazon’s new browser is an extension of what we have seen this past decade and a half of web development – consumers get more and more subsidized services which in-turn are financed by sharing their personal data with the provider.
If the noise surrounding this issue gets loud enough it is possible Amazon will give users an option to turn proxying off. We’ll see how this plays out but if the cellphone market is a guide, consumers will give up a lot to get a subsidized piece of hardware.